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More Cambridge University museums reopen

More of the University of Cambridge’s museums are welcoming visitors back through their doors with new Covid-19 safety measures in place.

Following in the footsteps of The Fitzwilliam Museum, the Botanic Garden and Kettle’s Yard, several of the other university museums plan to open over the next few weeks. These include the Sedgwick Museum, the Museum of Classical Archaeology and The Zoology Museum. Still to announce their plans are the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Polar Museum and the Whipple Museum.

Museum of Classical Archaeology (42216361)
Museum of Classical Archaeology (42216361)

Museum of Classical Archaeology

The first to offer a limited number of free tickets is the Museum of Classical Archaeology and tickets are available to book online now. The museum is home to one of the finest surviving collections of plaster casts of Greek and Roman sculpture in the world, housed in its atmospheric Cast Gallery.

Suzanne Turner, curator, said: “I’m delighted we can reopen and we’ve made a lot of effort to keep everyone safe during their visit.

“The experience will be a bit different because people will have to book their tickets in advance online so we can limit the number of visitors who are in the gallery at any one time . we have quite a large space so it should feel peaceful and safe. We have big perspex screens over our front desk and there is extra signage around, there will be a one way system in place, and people will follow a one way route through the building.

“We have limited opening hours so students aren't using the gallery at the same time as visitors. University teaching will happen in the afternoon.

“The children's toys and activities have had to be taken off display. However, there are downloadable trails on the website that people can print off before they come.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday, www.classics.cam.ac.uk/museum

Prof Kilner at the Museum of Zoology (42214245)
Prof Kilner at the Museum of Zoology (42214245)

Museum of Zoology

The Museum, which houses one of the most important natural history collections in the UK, is set to reopen on September 24. It remains free to enter and will now operate a timed ticketed system. Visitors will be required to book their free tickets online before arriving at the Museum. Each ticket allocates a 90 minute time slot to visit the Museum. A limited number of tickets will be available for each 90 minute slot, so visitors can feel safe in an uncrowded and relaxed environment. The Museum will also be operating a one way system around the specimens, with various trails available for adults and children.

There is now even more for visitors to see as while the galleries were closed over 100 specimens have been added to the displays, including a huge taxidermy tarpon as you enter the museum (a large-mouthed silver-coloured fish), golden eagles and a fur seal.

Professor Rebecca Kilner, Director of the Museum said ‘I am delighted that we are reopening the Museum after being closed for six months. The Museum team have done some amazing work during lockdown to continue to communicate with our audiences, but there is nothing like walking amongst the actual Museum specimens to get an appreciation of the natural world. A lot of thought and effort has gone into ensuring the Museum is a safe place to visit, and I can’t wait to see people enjoying the Museum again.’

It will be open three days per week - Thurs / Friday / Saturday. Entry is free via a timed ticketed system, tickets will be available to book from Thurs 17 Sept 2020.

Sedgwick Museum director Liz Hide. Picture: Keith Heppell. (42535142)
Sedgwick Museum director Liz Hide. Picture: Keith Heppell. (42535142)

The Sedgwick Museum

The Sedgwick Museum is set to reopen with free, booked tickets on September 24 for Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays. The opening will operate a morning and afternoon session to allow a deep clean of the gallery and facilities between visits.

Museum director Liz Hide said: “I can’t tell you how pleased I am that we are reopening. We are asking people to share their photos on social media of previous visits under the hashtag #OurSedgwick. We have had some lovely ones already. The motivation is that we really miss the gallery being full of people and it'slovely to see photos of people making silly dinosaur faces and posing in front of the fossils. We are reminding everyone that the museum is better with people in it.

“We are starting at a small percentage of what our capacity would normally be and we have increased staff to visitor ratio so we have plenty of cleaning and help people feel safe.

“ there will be free bookable slots morning and afternoon and then we will go from there we are planning to be open for the whole of half term and the booking system will allow us to give exclusive access to schools if they want to book to come we're also hoping to invite back in families with children on the autistic spectrum so they too can have exclusive access.

So although there won’t be loads of people in the museum the experience people have is good and they feel secure and they can enjoy it.

“We are cautiously going to see how it goes. One of the many downsides is we can’t use the interactive stuff we have for families such as the jigsaw and the books as they are not something we feel we can share between people. What we will offer families is a free trial and free resources. Staff will be on hand to talk about exhibits so we hope families in particular we hope will feel welcome. It’s difficult to tell kids don't touch this and that and we want to make sure there is still some fun in here and they can enjoy the dinosaurs and fossils and we are open to suggestions from visitors.”

Opening Thursday, Friday, Saturday from September 24.


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