The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery is welcoming back visitors following its temporary closure due to national coronavirus restrictions.

The museum is preparing to open from 10am on Monday, September 28.

Following national guidance and the latest coronavirus updates from the government, there will be a number of measures in place to ensure the site is Covid-secure. To help to limit the number of people inside the museum and comply with social distancing, visitors must book a time slot by calling 01782 232323. New time slots will be released every Monday.

Other safety measures include: A maximum of six people only per booking; Visitors must arrive 10 minutes before their admission time; Hand-sanitising stations will be located throughout the building; All visitors must wear a face covering unless exempt, except when seated in the café; A one-way system will be in place on walkways, stairways, and in the galleries.

The museum has been awarded Visit England ‘Good To Go’ status – a UK-wide, industry standard consumer mark which confirms that an attraction is adhering to government and public health guidance.

Previous opening times at the museum will still apply: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and on Sunday from 11am to 4pm. Visits will be a recommended two hours. Staff will be on hand to help with any questions visitors may have.

Due to current national guidelines, all interactive elements of displays have been temporarily removed. Instead, families will be able to buy interactive Ozzy The Owl activity bags, which cost £5 and include exciting trails, puzzles, quizzes, a craft activity to take home, coloured pencils and a badge. The site’s popular Ozzy Owl Trail sheets will still be available for £1.

The museum will also feature a new exhibition, called While We Were Away, which chronicles some of the things residents did during the national coronavirus lockdown.

The display, on the lower ground floor, highlights the online activities run by the museum during the temporary closure, which included support for home schooling, national anniversaries and fun activities for families. It features photos from workshops, rainbow trails, VE Day celebrations and children’s own ‘mini museums’ at home.

Another addition to the museum will be a display featuring some of the equipment and stories that are due to be used in the new Spitfire Gallery, which is scheduled to open in 2021. Visitors can discover objects linked to the Spitfire story and find out about the effects of the Second World War on Stoke-on-Trent. The museum will use this temporary display to gather feedback about the stories, objects and equipment that it plans to use next year.

As well as the stunning Staffordshire Hoard gallery, which features part of the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork ever found, the museum also has displays of fine and decorative arts, costume, local history, archaeology and natural history. There is also the world’s greatest collection of Staffordshire ceramics.

There will be other new displays at the site over the coming months.

Due to the ongoing construction works for the new Spitfire Gallery, the museum cafe will be temporarily relocated to the old Spitfire Gallery on the ground floor with a revised menu of light refreshments. There will also be a call and collect service for takeaways on 01782 232572.

For more information, please visit www.stokemuseums.org.uk.

Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “We’re absolutely delighted to announce that visitors will soon be welcomed back to the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery. It’s one of the city’s most popular attractions and offers world-beating, stunning displays that you can’t see anywhere else. The museum’s new trails and family activity bags will help to bring the collections to life and create a fun adventure around the galleries. We’ve also got lots of plans for fantastic new exhibitions over the coming months.

“Our dedicated museum team have been working really hard during the temporary closure to make sure the site is Covid-secure and we can bring people back safely. Please remember that visitors must book a time slot and we need everyone to follow the safety measures put in place. By sticking to these rules, we can ensure residents and visitors continue to enjoy all of the amazing items and collections available at the museum.”

For more information and advice on the coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated. If residents have symptoms, please get tested. All residents must continue to follow the guidance of wash hands, cover face and make space.

For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.

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