I have just had a safe distance meeting with Cllr Paul Crossley – the Cabinet member with ‘heritage’ under his remit – and the man tasked with deciding when it will be safe to reopen the Council’s ‘money-spinner’ – the Roman Baths.
It’s also likely to be the only council-owned museum to reopen for some time. With the Victoria Gallery and Museum of Fashion put on hold.
He talks frankly about how the lockdown has savaged tourist income and – with the Council’s huge coronavirus-induced budget-deficit in mind – how the future may map out.
We also looked at leisure facilities and talked about the future of the Council-owned golf courses.
Just click on the link below.
Well, the confirmation that the Pump Room Trio (there’s actually four of them who take it in turns) still have a job in the future is good news for the musicians involved.
I spoke to Tim Gilbert and his wife Jo – who both teach music at King Edward’s School in the city. Tim plays cello with the Trio.
Here’s a link to the Trio’s first YouTube recital!
Meanwhile, here’s a round-up of come of the city’s other museums and their plans for re-opening.
Chris Stephens, the Director of the Holburne Museum told me:
‘We are making the Holburne ready to open on July 4th which is the earliest possible date. But we are all waiting to hear the government pronouncement on museum opening which is/was expected this week. I fear it will not be as soon as July 4th but we live in hope.
We will open with a one-way system through the building, including the Grayson Perry exhibition, which we will have rearranged to create suitable screening and distancing.
The Garden Café will also be open – with a one-way system, possibly selling food and drink to be consumed in the garden.
It is a fluid situation but I understand a few Bath museums hope to open as soon as we are allowed while some others will open at a later date.’
At the Museum of East Asian Art, Museum Manager, Caroline Frances-King told me:
‘We are currently working on a strategy for reopening and consulting widely on the measures that we need to put in place so that visitors feel safe and confident to return. However, we have not yet set a date.’
Stuart Burroughs, Director of the Museum of Bath at Work, told me:
We’re opening probably opening in the next month or so. I’d be wary of setting a date as you never know what might happen!
Luckily the museum building is large enough and well ventilated enough to be fairly healthy. There is a one-way route around the exhibitions and as the loos are right next to the front door, we can insist that every visitor washes their hands before they enter the museum proper- this should reduce the surface contamination to a minimum.
Most of the hallways are wide enough to allow physical distancing. We’ve also got brass handrails, door plates and so on and as brass is naturally germicidal (!) it should help kill off the germs that do sneak in.
I think despite all the museums are in the same business, the issue of social distancing means that the physical layout of the museums will determine how accessible they are going to be to the public and staff.
You’ll find an interview with Caroline Kay CEO of Bath Preservation Trust elsewhere on this page. She talks about No 1 Royal Crescent and the Trust’s other museums.
Will bring you more information about other museum attractions – as and when l get it.
Freelance Journalist, broadcaster, columnist and local historian. Director of Bath Newseum. Married and lives in Bath.
Interested in local history, architecture and visual display in museums and urban spaces.
View all posts by Richard Wyatt