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Culture

The Natural History Museum Is Set To Reopen Next Month

By Alex Landon

The Natural History Museum Is Set To Reopen Next Month

The Natural History Museum has confirmed the reopening date of its iconic South Kensington site.

On May 17, after several long months without dinosaurs, visitors will finally be able to set foot in the Natural History Museum once again. Let’s hope some spooky ‘Night at the Museum’ drama hasn’t gone down while we were away. The museum’s closure from March to August last year was the longest the museum had been shut since WWII, so to then see a break from December to May has been pretty galling. However, better days are on the horizon, and under the terms of England’s roadmap out of lockdown, the museum is back in just over a month.

Image: Natural History Museum

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Everyone must pre-book a time-slot, although admission will remain free. Opening hours will be 10am-6pm every day, and capacity will be significantly reduced to keep visitors safe and socially distanced. In addition, museum Members and Patrons have been granted priority booking access 48 hours before the rest of the public, and get fast-track entry. For the rest of us, tickets go on sale today (Tuesday, April 13) at 1pm; we’re being asked to only book sessions we know we can attend, and to cancel visits as far in advance as possible, to allow the museum to maximise guests.

Three major exhibitions will be on display when we get back to the Natural History Museum. The first two were in residence before the latest lockdown: a magical Fantastic Beasts-inspired display, and the ever-popular Wildlife Photographer of the Year. New for this summer is Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It, a free exhibit that will explore humanity’s impact and relationship with the natural world. It opens on May 21.

The museum’s wildlife garden and food and drink offerings will be returning too, and evening sessions for the Wildlife Photographer and Fantastic Beasts exhibition are planned for the end of May. The Natural History Museum also plans to bring back yoga sessions and baby sensory classes on this date, so clear your diaries.

Director of the Natural History Museum, Dr Doug Gurr says: “Visitors will be in for a treat next month. You will be able to enjoy a crowd-free, VIP experience in our spacious galleries and gardens.” And whilst you’ll still need to follow safety guidelines – the standard hat-trick of wearing a mask at all times (unless exempt), washing and sanitising your hands, and social distancing from fellow guests – it’s a long overdue treat to be heading back to the museum!

It’s not the first museum to reopen, though: the nearby Science Museum has been acting as a mass vaccination centre for the past month.