Re-opening the Museum

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have to book in advance?

Due to social distancing safety measures, we can allow only a limited number of people into each museum at any one time. To manage this and prevent disappointment, we have introduced a free booking system which will be run online through Eventbrite. There is also a telephone number to call for those who choose not to use online booking. All our museums will remain free.

Can I bring a picnic?

Yes, you are welcome to bring a picnic to the Museum.

I have a season parking ticket which expired during lockdown. Will you be extending it?

We will be extending season car parking tickets to reflect the time that the Museum has been closed. We will be able to administrate this once the Museum has reopened. Please use the season ticket box on Eventbrite when you book.

Can I bring my dog?

Dogs are welcome at St Fagans but must be kept on a lead.

Are the toilets, Changing Places and baby changing facilities open?

Our toilets, baby changing, and Changing Places facilities remain open for those who wish to access them. We are putting in place an enhanced cleaning regime for such spaces and will limit the number of people who can use such facilities at any one time.

Are you using up PPE that should be going to the NHS?

No. We have sourced supplies separately to NHS requirements and our use of PPE materials in our museums will have no impact on the NHS.

Can I use the Museum shop?

Yes, the Museum shop will be open during your visit. We have made some changes to how we operate. These include

  • Removal of high touch displays
  • Removal of some shop units to give more space to browse
  • Increased cleaning of the shop and equipment
  • All retail staff will wear face visors
  • Hand sanitiser across the shop

A capacity of 10 people at one time in the shop to allow visitors to maintain social distancing while browsing

Lots of sites are already open – why are you taking so long?

As our sites have been closed for several months, with only security staff allowed on site for safety reasons, there is a lot of preparation work to do to make sure our sites are safe for visitors. This includes assessing the water supply to all sites, installing safety measures such as protective screens and signs, producing risk assessments for each site and sorting out one-way systems at the museums to ensure we can adhere to Covid-19 guidelines. In addition, staff training in increased hygiene techniques and the new safety features has to take place. There is also installation work to be done to bring visitors exhibitions that couldn’t be put up during closure, and to remove previous exhibitions that had finished their run. We want the museums to be the best and the safest they can be, despite being different to what visitors are used to, and we need time to ensure this is all in place for when we welcome the return of visitors.

On-site Refreshments

The ice cream kiosk near the Rhyd-y-Car terrace offers ice cream, cold drinks and sweet snacks. This kiosk is CASH ONLY.

Gweithdy will open on Saturday 8 August offering hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, salads, fruit bowls and cakes. Card payments only.

Our community has had few COVID-19 cases – you will be bringing hordes of visitors into the area from outside Wales who may be carrying the virus.

The communities in which our Museums are sited are very important to us, and we hope to continue productive relations with them for many years to come. We will be restricting the number of people who can be on site at each Museum at any one time, and introducing a strict pre-booking system.

At St Fagans, for instance, the only entrance will be from the main car park site, with the gate on Castle Hill remaining closed. We believe this will reduce the temptation for people to park in the village itself and walk in.

At Dre-fach Felindre, the National Wool Museum’s car park will be open, and with the reduced numbers allowed on site, we anticipate the car park being able to accommodate all visitors, without needing to park elsewhere in the village.

All sites will have measures to mitigate against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, such as increased cleaning regimes, social distancing, and hand sanitisation stations, so we do not anticipate visitors impacting on the local community.

What precautions are you taking to reduce the spread of COVID-19?

Every Museum has undergone a risk assessment in the light of the precautions and social distancing measures that remain in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes restricting the number of visitors on site at any one time, installing personal protective equipment (PPE), extra hygiene facilities and increasing the number of times that toilets and facilities are cleaned every day.

We have new rules on social distancing within our museums and are working to make sure signage to reinforce hygiene and social distancing regulations is highly visible.

When can I book a wedding/conference?

The safety of our staff and visitors is our priority, and we have carried out a risk assessment for each Museum to see how it can operate while adhering to social distancing and hygiene regulations. At the moment, the guidance from the Government is not to host large gatherings such as weddings or conferences, though this is constantly under review. Please keep an eye on our website where we will be posting updates if the situation changes.

When will you be fully open?

We hope all our Museums will reopen when we feel we have addressed all safety and security concerns to ensure we are not putting either staff or visitors at risk. However this will mean introducing some measures that the public are not used to, such as pre-booking a visit, keeping to a specified route, and withdrawing some activities. We are following the advice of the Welsh Government and we will remain in these measures until they advise us differently, though this could extend for many months.

When will you have events again?

We have developed a programme of online events for the coming months. Our focus will be online until we’re sure that we can safely stage physical events given the social distancing and hygiene regulations.

Why are some of the exhibitions/galleries closed?

The safety of our staff and visitors is our priority, and we have carried out a risk assessment for each Museum to see how it can operate while adhering to social distancing and hygiene regulations. In some cases (such as with some interactive exhibits) we felt it was not possible to ensure the safety of visitors and staff who might be using them. Therefore we have taken the precaution of excluding some exhibits from the reopening programme.

Why can’t I drop into the Museum like I used to?

Due to social distancing safety measures, we can allow only a limited number of people into each museum at any one time. To manage this and to prevent disappointment we have introduced a booking system. This is the safest way to ensure we can control the visitor numbers.

Why do I have to pay for car parking?

There has been paid for car parking at St Fagans National Museum of History and at Big Pit National Coal Museum for many years, and this will continue. We are a charity and every penny we raise from our car parks supports our work with communities across Wales. You do not have to pay for car parking if you display your Blue Badge, but you may have to book a space. You will find details of how to do this when you book your entry ticket on the museum Eventbrite page.

Why do you want me to wear a face covering?

Although we hope that the increased safety measures we have installed at our museums will reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19,  we are following the World Health Organisation advice encouraging the use of face coverings as an added precaution for the wellbeing of staff and visitors in spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained.

We are already following Welsh Government guidance on social distancing and handwashing, which are believed to be the most effective ways to reduce transmission of the virus.

We believe that face coverings are an extra tool in the prevention of infection, when used in conjunction with the measures we have put in place for social distancing and increased hygiene practices.

Why isn’t xx exhibition on which was advertised until x date?

We had to close our museums with little notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant we could not open some of the exhibitions that were advertised - such as the Richard Burton exhibition in National Museum Cardiff and the Swansea University 100 exhibition at the National Waterfront Museum – as scheduled. As our programmes for major exhibitions are planned years in advance, it may not be possible to reschedule every exhibition. However, during the lockdown, the Museum’s teams have been working hard on what can be rescheduled or repurposed.