Never has anyone been so relieved to see visitors coming towards the Museum front door, as myself, Gemma and Joanna were on Saturday Morning for our test VIP event.
There have been many points since we closed the Museum in March that I began to wonder if we would ever get the door open again. And that was definitely the feeling as the three of us sat in the car park on Friday morning, with a very long list of things that needed to be done before we were reopening in just over 24 hours’ time.
We have planned the whole reopening, from the one-way system, to the signs, the risk assessments, and the family activities from home. Would it work? Had all our deliveries arrived to make it all happen, and most importantly, would anyone come?!
What followed involved laminating, cable ties, moving lots and lots of things, an adjustable spanner, one quick trip to B&Q, cleaning, mopping, phone calls to the ticket system, more moving things and way too much thought about where to put the hand gel.
10 hours of work, and we were 90% ready. Time was called and on Saturday morning at 7.30 we set about to finish the final 5%.
I happened to be in the Waterworks gallery just before 10 when, all of a sudden, the interactives started up for the day, for the first time since March. The tears that welled up in my eyes were partly for relief, we had made it, partly from exhaustion and partly from pride. The Museum was ready to reopen and to welcome the first members of the public in.
Over the summer outdoor opening, our regulars had come, week in, week out to play. Families with young children had scooted, splashed and made friends with the staff. And it was these families that we had given out Golden Tickets to, an invite to the VIP morning.
So Samuel, holding his ticket and his grown-up’s hand was first across the threshold, and every family invite came. By 12.30 the Museum was alive with the sounds of happy families, playing, having lunch in the café, and telling us they were as happy to be back as we where to have them.
We have done it, the Museum is safe and ready to go, bring on Half Term, we can’t wait to see you all, we have missed you!