Many museums are preparing to reopen as the sector continues to welcome the public back to its premises. New hours of operation, new tour routes and new reservation systems are among the changes visitors will experience when they return.
the British Library moves into its next phase of reopening on September 1, as it allows visitors to return to its exhibits. This includes its free permanent gallery, Sir John Ritblat Gallery: Treasures of the British Library, which showcases some of the world’s most important books, maps and manuscripts. These include the Magna Carta and articles related to Shakespeare, Florence Nightingale, The Beatles, Fay Godwin, Andrea Levy and many more. The British Library’s new temporary exhibition is called Hebrew Manuscripts: Journeys of the Written Word. This explores the history, culture and traditions of the Jewish people through the ages and from all corners of the world.
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced the reopening dates for 10 of its pay sites, starting with Dunblane Cathedral on September 2, followed by Aberdour Castle, Dryburgh Abbey and Craigmillar Castle on September 4. Fort George, St Andrews Cathedral, St Andrews Castle and Dumbarton Castle will then reopen on September 11, followed by Dirleton Castle and Jedburgh Abbey on September 18. HES opened its three most popular venues – Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and Urquhart Castle – in early August. Blackness Castle, Huntly Castle and Melrose Abbey are among other sites that have reopened in the past two weeks. HES aims to reopen 70% of its estate by mid-September.
the Roald Dahl Museum and History Center reopens on September 10 with a new visit experience that will involve pre-booked guided tours for groups of up to 10 people from the same family or “bubble”. This is designed to allow people to visit the Great Missenden Museum without sharing any space inside the building with another group. Each group will be accompanied by a guide. Before each visit, the person who books the ticket will receive a phone call where they will be asked to share their favorite Dahl stories and characters. The information they provide will be used to personalize their visit by projecting archival documents on screens. The new approach means that the museum will only be able to accommodate 15% of its usual number of people. Accordingly, the museum asks visitors to support the museum by donating the price of additional tickets for as many “imaginary friends” as possible.
the People’s History Museum in Manchester will be back in business on September 1 when visitors can view images by photographer Jake Hardy, who attended Black Lives Matter protests in the city in May and June. On May 31, Hardy took a series of 66 images, a large selection of which are now part of the museum’s contemporary collection and will be on display until the end of the year.
The Royal Museums in Greenwich reopen on National Maritime Museum September 7. Visitors to the London site will be able to view the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019 exhibition, which has been extended until September 13. Admission to the National Maritime Museum will remain free. Time slots will need to be reserved in advance to ensure social distancing is maintained, and a one-way tour route will be in place. In accordance with the government’s announcement of July 31, wearing a face covering is mandatory inside the museum. Protective screens in the ticket office and gift shop will be installed and sanitizing stations will be available throughout.
Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland reopens on September 2 and is working with Unfolding Theater to create a new experience for visitors. People will be greeted by staff explaining the changes that have been made to ensure the museum is safe for Covid-19. Visitors will then join The Quest of Missing Questions, where they can uncover the history of the world’s largest pit village and see its stories come to life.
London Transport Museum in Covent Garden reopens on September 7. Tickets and time slots must be reserved in advance. A new sealed activity pack for children aged 4-11 will also be available to buy online for £7.50 to help children make the most of their time exploring the museum. This specially designed pack, which can be picked up on your arrival, includes a craft kit and an activity to do during the visit as well as an activity to take away. Every Thursday in September and October, the museum will close at 6 p.m. and reopen 30 minutes later for adults who want to catch up with friends after a day of working from home.
Pitzhanger Mansion and Gallery will reopen on September 10, with its new postponed exhibition Hogarth: London Voices, London Lives. Hogarth’s series of paintings A Rake’s Progress returns to Pitzhanger for the first time in 200 years for exhibition. It will be presented alongside works by contemporary artists to offer a modern reading of London and its social issues. New measures will be put in place to ensure Pitzhanger is safe and welcoming, including reduced capacity, one-way routes and improved cleaning.