Beamish, The Living Museum of the North plans to reopen its outdoor areas from 12th April, under Step 2 of the government’s COVID-19 roadmap.
The open-air museum will be able to reopen its grounds only under Step 2, subject to the government timeline for the easing of lockdown restrictions. Visitors will be able to take a stroll around the museum grounds and enjoy takeaway food and drink. The museum will give further updates, including timeslot booking information, in the coming weeks as it continues to monitor government guidance. Under Step 2 rules, Beamish isn’t yet able to open its indoor attractions and exhibits and run transport (excluding the wheelchair-accessible bus, operating on an on-call basis).
During the lockdown, the museum has been keeping in touch with visitors, including with its Beamish at Home activities, afternoon tea home deliveries and online shop.
Beamish is a charity, with 95 percent of its income from visitors, and the closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to have a devastating effect on the museum, which is continuing its vital fundraising.
Rhiannon Hiles, Beamish’s Deputy Director, said: “We’re very pleased to say that, as an open-air museum, we will be able to open our outdoor areas only under Step 2 of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown restrictions.
“We’re really looking forward to being able to welcome our visitors back to Beamish, we’re really missing seeing everyone enjoying the museum.
“Beamish is a charity and 95 percent of our income is from our visitors, including ticket sales, retail and catering, so being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to have a major impact.
“We’re extremely grateful for everyone’s ongoing support, it means so much, and we can’t wait to be able to open our doors again.
“Until then, we are continuing to keep in touch online and we’ll be keeping everyone updated about our reopening plans.”
Beamish introduced a range of COVID-19 Secure health and hygiene measures. It holds the “We’re Good To Go” standard, for organisations that are following government and industry guidelines, have a COVID-19 risk assessment and have a process to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.
The museum, which was due to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020, has been closed since December under COVID-19 restrictions.
Beamish has come up with innovative new ways to help people enjoy a bit of Beamish from home during the lockdown, reaching families as far away as Uganda, America, Australia, New Zealand, France and Germany. Activities have included live Victorian lessons, Father Christmas Zoom calls, Baked by Beamish afternoon tea deliveries, family craft activities, traditional recipes and the seasonally-changing online shop.
Rhiannon added: “We have been overwhelmed by the popularity of our new digital approaches, some of which are just the beginning of new ways for us to reach out to and broaden our audience range. Everyone has been really supportive of the museum through this tricky time, from purchasing items from our online shop and making donations to taking part in learning experiences and sending us lovely messages of support.”
Beamish has also developed a range of remote interactive learning activities for schools and youth groups, such as Brownies, Guides and Scouts. These include Lost Toys, which explores traditional toys and The 1900s Town, a remote evacuee session to investigate a missing evacuee, and even an explosive Just One Spark science-based activity that explores the history of coal mining.
The museum’s new Baked by Beamish Home Deliveries are also proving very popular. Afternoon tea boxes and other treats made at Herron’s Bakery, in the museum’s 1900s Town, are delivered by a costumed Beamish staff member (deliveries within 15 miles of the museum only).
Beamish’s online shop features products inspired by the museum’s exhibits and collections, from Jubilee Confectioners’ sweets and Herron’s Bakery treats to Beamish Monopoly, W Smith’s Chemist cold creams and cards printed on the museum’s presses.
Find out more about visiting Beamish at www.beamish.org.uk.