Bedford art gallery and museum announces date for re-opening

The Higgins has been closed since March

By Holly Patel
Thursday, 20th August 2020, 11:16 am
Updated Thursday, 20th August 2020, 11:22 am

The Higgins Bedford has announced a date for re-opening after being closed for five months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The art gallery and museum, on Castle Lane, will be reopening to the public on Tuesday, August 25.

With lockdown measures easing over the summer, various shops and other facilities locally began to open.

The Higgins

Bedford Borough Council has been closely monitoring the impact of these changes on the local rate of infections and is confident that it is safe to begin a cautious and phased reopening of leisure and culture services, with stringent infection prevention measures in place.

Visitors will once again be able to enjoy displays telling the story of the local area, alongside nationally significant collections of art and design.

New measures will be in place for the safety of visitors, volunteers and staff, and to help ensure an enjoyable experience for all.

This has included reducing the capacity of the museum to ensure that people can socially distance.

This means visitors will need to book a free timed entry ticket online before their visit or by calling 01234 718044.

Everyone visiting The Higgins Bedford must wear a face covering, except for children under 11 or for the legitimate reasons set out in Government guidance.

There will be a one way system in operation with separate entrance and exit routes, and hand washing and sanitising facilities will be available throughout the building.

Customer toilet facilities will be open with clear queuing systems in place, and cleaning has been increased.

Interactive displays will be removed as well as shared information folders about the displays, but visitors will be able to access these on mobile devices by scanning new QR codes.

Staff and volunteers will be on hand to help visitors have a safe and enjoyable time, while measures such as screens will be in place to help ensure everyone’s safety.

In addition, The Higgins Bedford will be collecting contact details for visitors to support NHS Test and Trace in the prevention of further local COVID-19 outbreaks.

Cllr Doug McMurdo, portfolio holder for Leisure and Culture, said: “I am really pleased that we are able to reopen The Higgins Bedford, in a safe and COVID-19 secure way for visitors and staff.

“You must book a free timed entry ticket before your by visit, so ensure you don’t miss out.

“As we start to reopen these services, we are urging people to continue to behave responsibly and help us to avoid a local lockdown.

"Stay 2 metres away from others, wear a face covering if you can, wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitiser, and if you are displaying any symptoms, stay at home and book a test.”

Visitors will be able to view the popular Dreams and Nightmares exhibition, featuring artworks selected from the Cecil Higgins Collection, which has been extended to Sunday, September 20.

As well as being able to visit the galleries, the museum shop and The Higgins Pantry café will be open.