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Reopening FAQs

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Here are answers to some of your most frequently asked questions regarding coronavirus and our reopening

What Guidelines are you following on reopening?
We have used the following information to plan our reopening;
Government GuidelinesGuidance for people who work or volunteer in heritage locations https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/heritage-locations

Government GuidelinesGuidance for people who work in the visitor economy https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy

National Museum Director’s Council (NMDC) – Good Practice Guidelines

AIM and the Museum Development Network – Reopening guidance

What days are you open?
The museum will be open Tuesdays – Sundays, 10am – 5pm from Tuesday 18 May.

The Outdoor Terrace Café is open Tuesdays – Sundays, 11am – 4pm.

What is open?
Garden: Open. Please visit before you enter the building
Historic House: Now open. Please follow the one-way route around the building
Exhibition: Hidden Highlights – Life in Lockdown, now open
Shop: Open from Tuesday 13 April
Toilets: Open from Tuesday 13 April
Cloakroom: Reduced facilities – Please do not bring large bags (over 45cm) or backpacks to the museum.
Café: The Museum Café is open between 10am -4.30pm. The outdoor Terrace Café is open 11am – 4pm.

Is the exhibition open?
Yes, Hidden Highlights – Life in Lockdown is now open and selected works are also available to view online.

I only want to visit the exhibition do I still need to book?
Yes, all visitors are asked to book in advance to avoid disappointment. This applies to those that want to visit the entire historic house and galleries or those that only want to visit the exhibition.

Why am I being asked to Pre-Book a ticket?
We’re limiting the number of visitors to help everyone follow social distancing guidelines. Pre-booked time slots ensure that visits are spread out throughout the day.

How do I book a ticket?
To book a ticket please visit our online booking pages you will be asked to select a date and arrival time.

Can I turn up on the day?
We may have walk in tickets available on the day. Please talk to the member of staff in the garden if there is any availability. Due to reduced ticket numbers we recommend that visitors pre-book to avoid disappointment.

Why are the ticket prices different?
The ticket prices on the online booking system are our standard prices. The system will give you the option to add an extra small donation which means that we can claim additional money back from the government (Gift Aid). If you buy your ticket for £6.82 and pay an extra 68p donation (total of £7.50) we are able to top that up using the Gift Aid scheme and turn it into £9.38 for the charity.

As a small charity we rely on Gift Aid as a significant element of our income. Gift Aid is a government scheme that allows charities to claim 25% extra back from the government on your donation. You must be a UK taxpayer to be able to do Gift Aid. Your support ensures that we can continue to look after this special and unique place.

Can I book over the phone?
Yes, those unable to book online can call the museum on 01202 128000 to book a ticket

What will you do with my booking details?
In line with guidance issued by the government, we will keep all visitor contact 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.
When you book your ticket through the Art Ticket system, Art Tickets holds a record of your data that we can access to meet this 21 day requirement. This data will not be used for marketing or other purposes.
If you would like to keep up to date with museum news, please join our mailing list, you can sign up on our website homepage russellcotes.com

Will the café be open?
Yes, its operating times are 10am – 4.30pm Tuesdays – Sundays. Takeaway, or sit in. Serving hot drinks, cakes, ice creams, beer, wine and light lunches.

Can I bring my own food and drinks into the Historic house?
No, food and drinks are not permitted into the historic house. The only exception to this is water. Visitors are permitted to bring a resealable (not glass) bottle of water with them.

I have a Friends Membership, should I still book?
To guarantee admission, all visitors including Annual ticket holders, Art Pass holders and Friends Members should pre-book. Booking is free, please bring your membership card with you when you visit.

We encourage you to pre-book to avoid disappointment, we may be able to accommodate you on the day without a booking. However, this will be dependent on the number of visitors we already have in the building and the number of tickets already allocated to those that have booked.

Why is it a timed ticket?
Tickets are timed so that we can manage visitor numbers into the building and reduce the amount of time you may have to queue. When you book, you will be asked to select an arrival timeslot. you can arrive any time within your half hour time slot.

If it’s a timed ticket, how long is a visit?
Once you are in the museum you are welcome to stay for as long as you like.

Is there a booking fee?
No, the price is for the admission ticket only.

Can I book a ticket on the day I want to visit?
Yes, you can book on the day.

What if I miss my time slot?

Please arrive within your 30 minute timeslot. If you arrive late, we will not be able to guarantee you entry. Entry will be at the discretion of the staff, based on visitor numbers.

I don’t have a printer, so can’t print my ticket
You can show your ticket on your phone.

I’ve forgotten my booking confirmation – can I still visit?
You can show us your booking confirmation either printed out or on your mobile device. Without it we will be unable to grant admission.

I’ve booked a time slot but forgotten to bring my memberships card, will you let me in?
If you are an Annual Ticket holder or a Friends Member, we will try our best to locate you on our membership database so that we can admit you.

If you forgot to bring your Art Pass or Museums Association card you will be charged the full price for your visit at the Welcome Desk.

I haven’t received my confirmation email
Please check that it hasn’t gone into your junk folder. If you still can’t find it, call us on 01202 128000.

Can you post me my booking confirmation?
No, booking confirmations are sent by email only.

Why can I not book the time slot I want?
Time slots are offered on a first-come, first served basis, so your preferred time slot may be fully booked.

I can no longer make my booked slot; how do I cancel?
Tickets can be cancelled and refunded only when more than 24 hours’ notice is given. Refunds are not available if you fail to attend your allocated session. If there is space available later the same day then we may be able to re-allocate your ticket. General admission tickets cannot be upgraded to Friends Memberships or Annual Passes at this time.

Why do I have to queue outside?
To maintain social distancing, we are controlling the flow of visitors into the building. You may be required to wait outside until the entrance is clear.

What if it’s raining?
If it is raining you will still be required to wait outside until the entrance is clear. Please come prepared for the weather.

Why am I being told not to bring a large bag or backpack?
The Russell-Cotes has an open display policy and small room sizes. To reduce risks, we do not permit large bags (over 45cm) or backpacks into the historic house. When we reopen, cloakroom facilities will be reduced, so we will be unable to store items securely.  

Do Friends get priority booking?
We are grateful for the support or Friends Members have given during the Lockdown period. As a way of saying thank you, the first day of opening will be for Friends Members only. 
Unfortunately, we are not able to offer this permanently due to charity tax laws. However, each time slot will have a set number of Friends tickets available for you to book.

I am disabled, can I bring a helper?
Yes, you can bring a carer or helper for free. Please select ‘Essential Carer or Companion’ when you book.

What social distancing measures have you introduced?
We have introduced the following measures to help with social distancing;
We have limited our capacity and introduced pre-booking.
Timed tickets ensure that visitor numbers are spread-out throughout the day.
We are operating a separate entrance and exit.
There is a one-way route in place throughout the building, please follow the signage.
Members of staff will also be on hand to direct you.

Will there be hand sanitiser on site?
We will have hand sanitiser stations, but you are strongly advised to bring your own.

How are you cleaning the museum?
During our closure period the museum has been thoroughly cleaned. We have implemented enhanced cleaning regimes in line with government guidance.

Our staff have also been trained in hygiene and social distancing.

Why aren’t all staff wearing face masks and PPE?
Each member of staff has PPE available to them and the option to wear it if they wish to.

Do visitors have wear a face mask?
Yes, from 8 August members of the public are required to wear a face covering when visiting the Russell-Cotes. You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. Government guidance on the wearing of face coverings can be found here

Why isn’t everyone wearing a mask?
There are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, where people are not expected to wear face coverings. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.
You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. Further information can be found here
It is not compulsory for employees to wear face coverings.

What is the one-way route?
A one-way route is currently in place at the museum. Visitors are asked to ‘follow the swallow’ and follow the signs that have swallows on around the one-way route.

Main Hall
Climb Main Stairs
Irving Room
Moorish Alcove
Yellow Room
Red Room
The Mikado’s Room
A-Z Room
Print Room (Currently Closed)
Descend stairs
Gallery I
Gallery II
Gallery III – Exhibition – Hidden Highlights – Life in Lockdown
Gallery IV – Exhibition – Hidden Highlights – Life in Lockdown
Main Hall
Drawing Room
Morning Room
Dining Room
Conservatory (the conservatory is closed in wet weather)

If you only wish to visit the exhibition you are welcome to bypass the upstairs areas of the house and go straight to the Galleries.
If you visit the exhibition and then decide you would like to visit the rest of the historic house, you are welcome to. Please continue follow the one way route and then loop back around to climb the main staircase to visit the upper floor of the historic house. Please do not walk against the one way route.

The route for wheelchair users or those unable to climb the main staircase
Main Hall
Lift to Galleries
Gallery I
Gallery II
Gallery III – Exhibition – Hidden Highlights – Life in Lockdown
Gallery IV – Exhibition – Hidden Highlights – Life in Lockdown
Lift to Main Hall
Main Hall
Drawing Room
Morning Room
Dining Room

Can I only go around once?
Visitors can complete multiple circuits around the historic house. You must however, follow the one way route.

How do I exit the building if I can’t climb the stairs?
The temporary visitor exit leads to a short set of stairs. However, wheelchair users and those unable to manage stairs will exit via our normal garden exit.

Is the shop open?
Yes, the gift shop will be open, however, for the time being it will be taking card payments only.

How can I get to the museum?
Bournemouth is the perfect place for walking and cycling.
The Russell-Cotes in on the East Cliff Promenade just two minutes’ walk from Bournemouth Pier and five minutes’ walk from the town centre.

If you cycle, please don’t bring your bike into the garden, a bike rack is conveniently located outside the garden gate.

Information on car parking can be found here https://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/Parking/Parking.aspx .

Are there any guided tours?
No, at the moment we are unable to offer guided tours of the historic house. You can find out information about the family and building in our guidebook, orientation video and in the digital guide .

Can I come to sketch?
No, due to the social distancing measures we have had to put in place we cannot accommodate activities such as sketching and drawing at this time.
If you are looking for some artistic inspiration you can find some of our collection online here https://russellcotes.com/online-collection

The question I have isn’t in the FAQ
If you have a question that has not been answered please contact the museum and we will try and help.
01202 128000

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