Following an almost five-month long closure, the longest period since the second world war, the Natural History Museum has today announced that it will re-open the doors to its world-famous building in South Kensington from Wednesday 5 August 2020.
The Museum will initially re-open on Wednesdays to Sundays only and from 11am to 6pm (last entry at 5pm).
New measures will be in place to ensure staff and visitors can have a safe and enjoyable experience. To help manage the number of people in the Museum at any one time, capacity will be significantly reduced. It will be essential to book a free timed ticket in advance online at nhm.ac.uk or by phone. Museum Members and Patrons will have priority booking 48 hours before it opens to the public; they will also benefit from fast-track entry.
The vast majority of the Museum’s galleries will be open alongside its five-acre gardens. Strolls, picnicking, exploring pondlife and wildlife watching are all encouraged. Food and drink will be available to purchase either as takeaways or to enjoy at socially distanced seating. Transactions will be contactless where possible, but cash will be accepted.
The Museum’s perennially popular Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is planned to open in October with brand new winning images to captivate audiences. The Museum’s Ice Rink is set to also open in October with new measures in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for skaters.
The major new exhibition, Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature, the result of a creative partnership between the Museum, the BBC and Warner Bros. will continue to be created on-site with the aim of welcoming guests to experience it this winter; more news on an opening date will be shared imminently.
Both the Museum’s main entrance on Cromwell Road and its Exhibition Road entrances will be open.
Invitation to local community groups
In recognition that many of the local audiences will have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19, the museum will be reaching out and working with local community organisations who are supporting families and young people who live in the surrounding boroughs to extend a special and exclusive visit offer.
The Museum has achieved Visit Britain’s ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard by demonstrating adherence to the respective Government and public health guidance and the implementation of new safety measures.
Limiting visitor numbers will allow visitors to keep a safe distance from people who are not in the same household. Friendly and trained staff will be on hand to support visitors to have a great time and stay safe.
Hands-free hand sanitiser will be available at all entrances, cafes, shops, toilets, lifts and in the largest gallery spaces. Multiple toilet facilities across the site will be open with clear 2-metre queuing signage in place.
Acrylic protection panels will be in place in cafes, shops, visitor information and ticketing stations, and staff who are not based behind these will be issued with face coverings.
The Museum is recommending that all visitors wear a face covering during their visit and this will be made clear at the point of booking a time-slot. Additional reusable and washable face coverings will be available for purchase in the shops.
The vast majority of galleries will be open. Visitors will be able to plan their visit in advance with new online itineraries.
Lifts will be available for anyone with access needs and cloakroom facilities will be limited initially to large luggage items.