National museums reopen across the UK 6 Aug 2020

The V&A, Science Museum and Natural History Museum are among those reopening this month. Pre-booking will be necessary and it is anticipated that visitor numbers will be down by around 80%. Natural History Museum Director Sir Michael Dixon said that “this is a fantastic opportunity to experience all three of our museums without crowds”. He added “we think that demand will outstrip supply, but that's a guess because we're in a period of mass uncertainty at the moment”. Only the Science Museum will be open seven days per week, and all three will find it more costly to open than remain shut, but will survive this financial year through the Government’s £1.57bn support package, described by Science Museum Director and Chair of the National Museums Directors' Council, Sir Ian Blatchford as ‘resoundingly good’. However, he added that he did not expect normality to return until Spring 2022.

National Museums Scotland has begun opening some sites, with the National Museum of Scotland due to reopen on 19th August. There will be timed tickets and cafés and shops will also be open, although taking only cashless payments. Meanwhile Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales has been opening sites since 4th August. It has been losing £400k per month during closure and is not expecting to recover costs on reopening due to the limits of social distancing. National Museums Northern Ireland sites began opening with Ulster Museum on 30th July and is implementing an 'access for all' strategy with dedicated booking slots for older people, and people with special educational needs, among others. Two National Museums Liverpool sites were among the earliest to open, alongside the National Gallery and Wallace Collection. Guardian, Museums Journal, NMS, NML, Museums Journal (NI)  NMNI