Planning your visit
We want to make your visit as safe and enjoyable as possible. This means there will be some changes to the way you visit.
We're happy to welcome you back from Monday 17 May but we want to keep you safe so there'll be some changes when you visit:
- Fewer people will be admitted.
- You'll need to book a free ticket.
- You'll need to wear a face covering.
- Please follow the one-way route around the Museum.
- We've increased cleaning and recommend you use the hand sanitiser stations.
- Our staff and volunteers are on hand to help.
- You can support us by making a donation.
For more detailed information, please read the sections below.
We'll reopen on Monday 17 May.
- Our opening hours have changed slightly so that we can keep visitors safe by cleaning throughout the day:
- Monday - Friday: 10am - 5pm* (closed 12-12.30pm and 2.30-3pm for cleaning)
- Saturday: 10am - 4pm* (closed 1-1.30pm for cleaning)
- Sunday: 11am - 4pm* (closed 1-1.30pm for cleaning)
- We are admitting fewer people into the Museum and operating time slots so we can provide enough space for social distancing. This means we would like you to book your visit in advance. If you don't book, you may have to queue outside the Museum until we can admit you safely.
- Please be aware that some areas of the Museum are closed for now. These include:
- Mouse House (under 5s' gallery)
- Ice Age to Iron Age gallery
- Explore/Anglo-Saxons gallery
- Hancock Cafe (reopening 28 May)
- Hands-on interactive displays in all galleries
- Visitor lockers and buggy parking.
How to book
To ensure we can maintain social distancing and to help us make your visit safe and enjoyable, it is important that as many people as possible book a ticket in advance.
- You’ll need to choose a time slot. The time slot is for your arrival time only and the length of time you can stay will be made clear during the booking process and on your ticket.
- Every week we will release new bookings for visits the following week. You need to book at least one hour before the start of each time slot.
- You can book a maximum of six tickets per visit.
- Due to limited spaces, we’re asking that you only book once a week to allow others a chance to visit.
- There will be a small allocation of tickets for people who walk up on the day and those who are not able to book tickets online. If you do not have a ticket you may need to wait until a member of staff has made sure the number of people in the building is at a safe level before you can be admitted.
When you arrive
To comply with the law, you will be required to wear a face covering to enter the Museum and for the duration of your visit. This does not apply to under 11s or people excluded due to health conditions.
- Please arrive at least 30 minutes before the finish time of your ticket. You may need to queue for a short time while tickets are checked. If you arrive late, we're afraid we may not be able to guarantee you immediate entry. Entry will be at the discretion of our staff based on the number of people already in the building.
- To maintain social distancing, please do not pass your phone or printed tickets to our staff. You may be asked for your name and booking number.
- Please have your ticket ready to show our staff, either on your phone or a printed copy.
- In order to help reduce the risk of a local outbreak of coronavirus we are legally required to take contact details of all visitors over 16 who do not book in advance or use the NHS test and trace app, as well as recording the time of entering our venue. In line with guidance issued by the government, we will keep your details for 21 days. We will only share them with NHS Test and Trace, if asked, in the event of a fellow visitor testing positive for coronavirus.
- We will also be displaying NHS QR code posters to make it easier for you to check-in. You will need to download the NHS app onto your mobile phone before you can scan the QR code. The app is available on Android's Google Play or Apple's App Store - search for NHS Covid-19. If you check-in using the QR code then you do not need to share your details with us. Your cooperation in helping us to keep our visitors, staff and the wider community safe is greatly appreciated.
During your visit
Please follow government advice around social distancing when you visit and follow the one-way route around the Museum. Any children in your group must be supervised at all times.
- Please read the signs providing guidance and our staff and volunteers will also be happy to help you adjust to the new way of visiting.
- Our staff will greet you at a distance. They will be wearing face coverings and we have new protective screens at our welcome desk.
- Make sure to visit our special exhibition Other Worlds: The Art of Atomhawk on the one-way route.
- Unfortunately we cannot provide an indoor picnic space. Please help us maintain hygiene and protect our collections by not bringing food and drink into the Museum.
- The Hancock Cafe will reopen on Friday 28 May with daily hours of 10.30am - 3.30pm.
- Any purchases in the shop must be made at the start of your visit. If possible, please use a contactless payment method in our shop.
- We encourage you to use the hand sanitisers around the Museum.
- We have increased cleaning in all public areas and especially in areas of high contact.
- If you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus, or if you have been in contact with anyone that has the virus in the last 14 days, please do not visit.
- Please use our visual stories if you would like to see at your own pace what a visit to the Museum is like now.
For Summer 2021, we have an exciting blended and virtual offer. Although we will not be offering on-site workshops this term, we will be able to offer slots for on-site visits when the Museum reopens.
If you wish to bring a school or college group to the Museum please contact the Learning team who will be able to discuss your visit requirements directly with you.
Help us ensure art, culture & heritage continue to make a positive impact in our region.
Donate £5 today to keep culture at the heart of the North East.