Updated 12/06/20

Reopening your museum will rely first and foremost on your most important assets – the people who keep your organisation running.

For your Front of House team, there may be concerns about the face-to-face nature of their roles, physical contact and the anxieties they have around the virus. Mental health and wellbeing may become more of a priority for your organisation when considering visitor interactions, and social distancing in offices or stores. You may be requiring heightened vigilance from your staff, as well as dealing with the worries of your visitors.

Staff are likely to need a degree of ‘retraining’, especially if they have been off for longer than 12 weeks. You may need to arrange a day or two for people to come in and remind themselves of procedures (such as how the till works, what the fire evacuation procedure is, IT logins, etc). This may need to be spread out over several days if social distancing is still in place. You may also want to limit exposure to different groups of staff/volunteers and institute a buddy system so that people are only exposed to the same individuals.

Questions to ask yourself

  • How many staff are you realistically going to be working with (some staff might not return immediately, be part of the shielding group or have underlying health conditions or caring responsibilities)?
  • What is the museum’s policy on staff not wanting to return to work when requested (for whatever reason)?
  • How will you communicate with your staff to understand their concerns around contact and potential exposure? How will you find out what would make them feel safer at work?
  • How will you address additional mental health or wellbeing anxieties?
  • Will you require personal protective equipment (PPE) for your staff or visitors?
  • How can you adapt your Front of House and back office facilities to encourage social distancing?
  • Can some staff continue to work from home?
  • Will you need more hand washing facilities?
  • Will you need to investigate costings and practicalities for social distancing measures? These might include screens at pay points, signage and zone markings on the floor.
  • Will your staff need to use public transport to access your site? Can the risks of this be mitigated?
  • Have you considered the legal implications of reopening? Will you be able to guarantee that you have made reasonable and effective health and safety changes to protect your staff?
  • Have you investigated costings and practicalities for more regular and more thorough cleaning?
  • Will your staff need training on additional hygiene practices?
  • Have you done a comprehensive risk assessment for returning staff to ensure they will be safe?


“The museum we closed will not be the museum we reopen.”



Government guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments.

Health and Safety advice

Government guidance for businesses

Gov’t guidance for social distancing in a range of workplace scenarios

Risk Assessment template
Appendix 4

General information on reopening museums in America

Workers’ Rights

Reopening – Public and Facility Manager Anxieties
Appendix 11: Reopening – public and Facility Manager anxieties

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