Bexhill Museum will re-open on Thursday 9 July after being closed since March because of the Covid-19 lockdown.
The museum will open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only for the time being and from 11am to 3pm only. It relies almost entirely on volunteers to keep it open and as more of them are able to return to duty the opening days and hours will increase.
The Chair of the Trustees, Dr Anne Stacey, said: “We are delighted to be able to open our doors again to residents and visitors. Although we have had to make some temporary changes to conform with the government’s Covid-19 regulations and advice, we will still be offering what we always have – a warm welcome, a friendly and informative experience hosted by our volunteers and plenty of items to educate, surprise and amuse our visitors.”
There will be controlled entry to the museum with visitors asked to queue along the ramp at two metre social distancing. Visitors will be asked to provide a name and a contact number as a precautionary measure in support of the Government’s Trace & Test programme. This will be optional, as will be the use of face masks. We will be sticking to the two metre social distancing rule for non-family or ‘bubble’ groups. Extra cleaning will be carried out during opening hours and hand gel stations at various points for visitors to use.
To enable social distancing there will be a one-way system through the galleries and museum itself and no re-entry will be allowed to a gallery once you have left it. However there is room to “overtake” other visitors. Family groups will be asked to keep together as they move through the galleries.
For obvious reasons the interactive exhibits for children have been removed – so there will be no dressing-up area, typewriter, push-button engine displays or jigsaw. Our popular quizzes have been replaced with shorter ones which do not require a clipboard or pencil.
The Bexhill 1940 Winter Wartime Model Railway will be operational but numbers allowed into the gallery to see it will be limited to enable social distancing. The presentation itself will be shortened to ten minutes in order to cut waiting times in busy periods. Once the gallery has reached capacity visitors will be asked to queue for the next presentation.
The museum shop will be available on exit as will take-away hot and cold drinks.
Dr Stacey said: “The volunteers will be working hard to make sure our visitors will be kept safe and yet still be able to enjoy the wonderful things we have in the museum. I would like to thank those volunteers who have been able to return to duty and who have shown their usual enthusiasm in coping with the changes we have had to introduce.
“Despite all these, I think our visitors will find it is still very much the Bexhill Museum they will recognise from previous visits.”