When we first set out to open our outdoor spaces on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, we had no idea whether people would be ready to come and visit us. Responses to our family newsletter survey really helped us feel optimistic that we were wanted, but you never know until you try!
And it turned out that we were not just wanted, but needed, and since 16th July we have been delighted to have had 1,238 visitors! You can read about what it was like welcoming back visitors in our blog post from July here.
Positive feedback helped us think about our next steps, and we put our heads together (virtually or from 2 metres apart) and decided that it was possible for us to extend for another 4 weeks to Saturday 26th September. We noticed that quite a few of our family visitors come with pre-school aged children, and we understand that whilst some playgrounds and nursery groups have opened, many have not. Or perhaps it will take a little while to feel ready to return there. Soft play only recently reopened and the status of playgroups are unclear. We know that we are able to offer a playful and fun environment for families with outdoor activities that feel safe and comfortable, and that feels incredibly valuable.
We also need a bit more time before we can open our buildings, and make sure we do it right. But until we can open generally, we are offering our spaces to community groups for small private bookings. In many cases they aren’t able to use the spaces they used to use, due to changing restrictions, and we are fortunate to be able to fill that gap for some. We believe that a museum is at its best when it serves its community, so in being open for families and available for community groups, we feel we are working with our core values at heart.
Of course, it’s hard to predict the weather, and August 2020 gave us everything from scorching heat to thunderous storms, but let’s hope September goes with our plans, and gives us that little summer extension we all need!