By Rachael Grealish
After closing its doors due to COVID-19, like so many galleries and museums across the UK, Tullie House is back.
The Carlisle-based venue closed to the public on March 18, just before the country went into lockdown, but is reopening today, Wednesday July 8, eager to welcome back visitors.
Tullie House will be up and running again as part of a phased reopening – operating with reduced opening hours to help gauge demand and to carefully manage the charity’s running costs.
Andrew Mackay, Director of Tullie House: “It’s been an extraordinary and difficult time for everyone, and Tullie House is no exception.
“We are opening in phases because people want to experience our unique offer, and obviously we are very keen to welcome everyone back.
“The challenge for us as a cultural charity is that we need to be safe and we need the public to support us. Knowing the people of Cumbria I am sure they will.”
To keep visitors and staff safe, the museum has conducted a full risk assessment of the building and its services.
Conforming with government guidelines, visitors can expect to see: a one-way route into and out of the building with clear signage, clear queue markings with staff to monitor and advise as required, social distancing measures and protective screens.
Phase One of the reopening on 8 July will see the Café, gardens and giftshop open.
The café will be open for light refreshments and visitors will be able to enjoy outdoors, particularly with the provision of a new range of gazebos to allow visitors to experience the gardens – whatever the weather.
Peter Johnston, Director of John Watts: “We are delighted to reopen the café, offering a range of scones cakes sandwiches and jacket potatoes which allows us to reflect our customers favourites and the reduced opening hours, gauge demand and work in partnership with Tullie House to manage their running costs”.
Following a Members and Patrons only day on Wednesday July 15, Phase Two reopens with the Treasures of China exhibition on Thursday July 16.
During this phase, and for a strictly limited period, entry to this extraordinary temporary exhibition will be free – with a suggested £5.00 donation to the charity.
Amy Walker, Head of Programme and Development at Tullie House: “We are thrilled to be reopening the Treasures of China exhibition and are grateful to our exhibition partners Oriental Museum, Durham University who have agreed to extend the loan of their outstanding collection of costume, paintings, and impressive cultural artefacts.
“We have taken the decision to open the exhibition free of charge as a thank you for supporting us over the years and to recognise that our exhibitions bring so much joy and happiness to so many of our visitors.
“At this time of great national difficulty, restoring the health and well-being of our communities is paramount.
“Nevertheless, as a charity Tullie House relies heavily on admissions income and on the generosity of our funders, donors, patrons and members.
“Since mid-March our income has been severely impacted. We hope by offering this exhibition for free, our visitors will appreciate our offer and continue to support us through donations or by buying tickets which allow repeat visits”.
Phase Three starts on Wednesday July 29 where A British Museum Partnership Gallery: The Roman Frontier, the Border Galleries and the Community Gallery will all be fully accessible.
Initially, Tullie House will remain closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but will be open from Wednesday to Saturday 10.00am – 3.00pm and Sunday from 11.00am – 3.00pm.