Museums and galleries set to reopen - with caution

Following the further relaxing of lockdown restrictions from July 4, England’s museums and galleries are preparing to reopen with strict distancing rules, timed visits and in some cases booking only, with the National Gallery the first of the major institutions to welcome visitors again on July 8.

The British Museum, V&A, Natural History Museum, National Museums Liverpool, Royal Armouries and Science Museums are among those that have not yet set a reopening date.

Meanwhile, the National Museums Directors’ Council has issued guidelines on safe reopening.  Museums and galleries must be able to ensure the safety of public and staff, complying with the government’s social distancing guidelines which may mean changes to exits and entrances or the layout of galleries. Perspex screens may be used to shield staff members from frequent contact with the public, and there should be new training for staff members, especially for front of house workers. Museum workers do not have to wear PPE but a face covering may be useful in some cases. Finally, museums and galleries must be prepared to “close down quickly and efficiently” if lockdown is announced again.

The image shows Portrait of a Woman in Red by Marcus Gheeraerts (copyright Tate) which is in the Foundling Museum’s Portraying Pregnancy exhibition.

The timetable so far is:

July 4                                      Blists Mill, Ironbridge Gorge Museum

July 6                                      RAF Museum

July 8                                      National Gallery; Foundling Museum; Focal Point Gallery, Southend

July 9                                      Royal Academy; Mosaic Rooms

July 13                                    Barbican Art Gallery & Curve

July 14                                    Whitechapel Art Gallery; Photographers’ Gallery

July 15                                    Wallace Collection

July 16                                    Peer Gallery. Ditchling Museum

July 22                                    Turner Contemporary, Margate         

July 27                                    Tate Britain, Modern, Liverpool, St Ives

Aug 4                                      Serpentine Galleries; Nottingham Contemporary     

Aug 13                                    Baltic, Gateshead

Mid Aug                                  Ashmolean, Oxford

Aug 20 (TBC)                          Manchester Art Gallery

Early Sept (TBC)                     Whitworth, Manchester

Sept 4                                    Artangel

Sept 10                                  Drawing Room

Sept 11                                  MK Gallery, Milton Keynes

Sept 18                                  Goldsmiths

Sept 26                                  Chisenhale Gallery

Sept 30                                  Gasworks

Oct 1                                     The Showroom

Autumn (date TBC)                 Wellcome Collection; Southwark Park Galleries

Oct 6                                     INIVA



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