Six things to see when Norfolk's museums reopen on May 17
- Credit: Archant
From Star Wars toys to the first major exhibition of the work of Norwich artist John Crome in more than 50 years - Norfolk's museums are getting ready to welcome back visitors.
Five of the county's museums are getting ready to welcome back visitors from Monday - and two more will follow soon after.
Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed the country is on course for the next step of coronavirus restriction easing next week.
That means that Norfolk Museums Service will reopen Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Time and Tide and the Elizabethan House Museum in Great Yarmouth, Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse and Cromer Museum from Monday, May 17.
Lynn Museum in King's Lynn will open the following day (Tuesday, May 18) and The Museum of Norwich, in Bridewell Alley, on Saturday, May 22.
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It will be the first chance since December for people to go inside the county's museums, giving them a chance to see the collections and exhibition such as:
1. May The Toys Be With You
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Running at Time and Tide until June 27, this exhibition is a nostalgia-fest for fans of Star Wars.
It features 300 Star Wars toys, original cinema posters and memorabilia, celebrating the classic toys and collectables
2. A Passion for Landscape: Rediscovering John Crome
The first major exhibition of the work of Norwich artist John Crome in more than 50 years.
Featuring about 90 works, the exhibition includes loans from public and private collections, alongside those from Norwich Castle’s own collection of works from one of the 19th Century's most important painters.
Runs until September 5.
3. Thomas Baines: Art, Exploration and Empire exhibition
This Lynn Museum exhibition, which runs until the autumn, looks at the life and art of the King's Lynn-born Victorian explorer.
Baines travelled to Africa and Australia - recording the plants, animals and indigenous communities he encountered during his travels.
4. Bellotto masterpiece
Saved for the nation in 2017, Bernardo Bellotto's The Fortress of Königstein from the North has been loaned to Norwich Castle by the National Gallery in London.
The 18th Century painting is more than two metres long is on display in the Colman Project Space until July 4.
5. New adventure playground
Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, near Dereham, has a new outdoor adventure playground.
Play sessions are 40 minutes long and must be booked at the museum.
6. Somewhere Unexpected: Norwich Castle Open Art Show
Artists were invited to submit work that acknowledged the significance of their immediate environments amid the coronavirus pandemic.
From an open call, 38 artists working in East Anglia were selected by Amanda Geitner, Rosy Gray, Henry Jackson Newcomb and Danny Keen.
The exhibition includes painting, prints, photography, sculpture and film.
Steve Miller, director of culture and heritage at Norfolk County Council, said: "We’re delighted that we are able to open our doors to our local communities so they can once again enjoy our fantastic collections and special exhibitions.
“Norfolk’s museums are a vital part of our heritage and visitor economy and so it is welcome news that seven of our sites are reopening to the general public.
"With several fantastic new exhibitions to enjoy and a new adventure playground at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, there’s plenty to inspire our visitors.”
“Our museums have tried and tested measures in place to allow customers to use the museums safely and visit with confidence.”
Measures will be in place to protect visitors and staff. People will have to wear masks, unless exempt, sanitise their hands and maintain social distancing.
One-way routes will be in place and not everything will be open. For instance, the cafe and shop at Norwich Castle will be shut.
Entrance to the museums is by ticket only, which will need to be booked online via https://norfolk-museums.arttickets.org.uk/
Tickets will not be available on the door at museums.
The three remaining Norfolk Museums Service sites, Strangers’ Hall, Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life and the Tolhouse in Great Yarmouth will be open to schools and pre-booked groups only.
The county council says those sites are not suitable to reopen to the general public while social distancing restrictions are still in place, but can be managed safely to allow visits by schools and pre-booked groups.