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The British Museum will reopen in August with a pre-booking system

London’s museum of human history and its ancient artefacts are back

Written by
Laura Richards

You can have another go at decoding the Rosetta Stone from Thursday August 27, the date the British Museum has just announced it will be reopening after months of holding its objects and artefacts in lockdown. 

It’ll be a phased reopening for the iconic London museum – a great day out, whether you’re an adult seeking enlightenment or you’re on your first school trip to the Big Smoke – with its ground floor the first to open at the end of August. Most rooms will be accessible to the public via a new one-way system, giving visitors the opportunity to explore more than 9,000 objects. One such item will be Grayson Perry’s 2011 work, ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman’, which the artist is lending to the museum to mark its return. 

From September 21, some of the upper-floor exhibition rooms are set to reopen, too. September will also see the return of postponed spring 2020 exhibition ‘Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution’, followed in October by the museum’s ‘Arctic: Culture and Climate’ show. Both will have extended runs (closing in January and February respectively) to ensure enough people have a chance to visit despite limited capacities. Edmund de Waal’s ‘Library of Exile’ is also having its British Museum residency extended.    

The museum will be introducing a system to pre-book free tickets to ensure numbers are kept low enough for social distancing in among all the amphoras. And about those school trips... they’re off the agenda for the time being, but classes can virtually visit the British Museum’s Samsung Digital Discovery Centre.

Tickets can be booked in advance from Wednesday August 12, either online or over the phone. 

‘Visitors are our lifeblood, and we have missed them greatly. It will be wonderful to welcome them back and I do hope that local, London-wide and UK audiences will take this opportunity to discover, or rediscover, the Museum, exploring some of the most popular galleries in what will be a much quieter environment,’ said Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum.

163 days of lockdown might not seem like much time in the context of the British Museum and its ancient objects, but if it’s felt like a lifetime to you, this news will be music to your ears. 

Check out our favourite London museums and their reopening dates for summer 2020.

In other museum news, Tate is covering London billboards with art

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