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Tickets “sell out” on museum’s first day of reopening

Leicester Museum & Art Gallery

LEICESTER’S flagship museum has reopened to the public, with all 200 available tickets snapped up for its opening day (Monday).

The first visitors through the door at the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery on New Walk arrived at 11am this morning, with many families heading straight for the stunning new LEGO® exhibition, Brick City.

And, after five months of lockdown, staff at the museum were delighted to welcome them back.

Head of arts, museums, festivals and events Jo Jones said: “Staff have worked really hard to get the museum ready for our visitors, and all the systems we’ve put in place to keep people safe are working well.

“After being closed for such a long time, it’s brilliant to see people in the museum once again – and we look forward to welcoming many more in the coming weeks and months.”

To help social distancing, visitor numbers in the museum will be carefully managed, with people being asked to book their free visit in advance on the museum’s new website Tickets can also be booked by calling the museum on 0116 225 4900.

A maximum of 20 people were able to book a slot every 30 minutes today, as museum staff tested the system out, but that will be increased to 30 tickets per slot for visits to the museum this weekend. The museum can safely accommodate 200 visitors at any one time, so the aim is to increase numbers further – up to a maximum of 40 people per 30-minute slot.

Bookings are required to visit all of Leicester’s museums, which are reopening to the public on a phased basis.

Visitors to the gardens at Belgrave Hall, however, will not need to pre-book. The gardens will reopen on Wednesday (19 August) from 11am-4.30pm and will then be open every Wednesday, as well as on the first full weekend of every month.

Next week, on Thursday 27 August, Newarke Houses Museum, the Guildhall and the Abbey Pumping Station – where volunteers are working with staff to make sure everything’s ready for the public’s return – will all reopen.

Newarke Houses Museum will reopen with a special exhibition commemorating the 75th anniversary of VJ Day

VJ 75: Leicestershire Prisoners of War in the Far East – 1941-45 will explore the personal stories of men of the Leicestershire Regiment who were captured in the Far East during the Second World War.

The exhibition – which includes photographs, medals and a chess set made by prisoners of war – will continue until 8 November.

Newarke Houses, the Guildhall and the Abbey Pumping Station will be open from noon until 4.30pm from Thursdays to Sundays only.

Visits to any of Leicester’s museums can be booked on the new Leicester Museums and Galleries website 

Social distancing measures will be in place in all museum buildings, taking account of the latest Government safety guidelines to help keep both staff and visitors safe. As well as booking online prior to visiting, visitors will find signs reminding people to keep a safe distance apart and screens at reception desks.

In line with Government guidance, face coverings must be worn by anyone over 11 in all public buildings, including museums.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair, who leads on culture, leisure and sports, said: “Leicester’s museums have so much to offer – so while things may look and feel a little different, we’re delighted to be opening up our doors again to showcase our many varied and fascinating stories, artefacts and displays.”

Admission to all of the city’s museums is free of charge.