Following a challenging year, Royal Museums Greenwich is delighted to announce the reopening of the National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House, Cutty Sark and Royal Observatory Greenwich on 17 May 2021.
The National Maritime Museum and Queen’s House grounds, the Parkside café and shop have been open to public since 12 April 2021 and from 7 May 2021 visitors will get the chance to dine like royalty in the Queen’s House Dining Domes where they will receive an unforgettable outdoor dining experience in a beautiful setting, with the Queen’s House as the backdrop and views of the city skyline and River Thames: rmg.co.uk/diningdomes.
During lockdown, the museum took the opportunity to carry out various restoration works across the sites and is ready and excited to welcome everyone back. A one-way system and some restrictions will initially be in place to ensure the safety of all visitors and staff. Protective screens in the ticket hall and gift shop will be in place. Sanitiser stations will also be available throughout the sites, although to ensure we meet safety guidelines, some interactives will not be accessible.
Tickets must be purchased in advance to ensure social distancing can be maintained on site. Pre-booked time slots ensure that visits are spread throughout the day and sites don’t exceed their capacity.
Paddy Rogers, Director at Royal Museums Greenwich, said: ‘The 17 May will be a terrific day for Royal Museums Greenwich. Our sites and special exhibitions are modern (Exposure: Lives at Sea), topical (Tudors to Windsors) and beautiful (Faces of a Queen and Woburn Treasures). Our cafes and other sites are spruced up and ready to go. All we need now is visitors, who can be assured that we are Covid-safe and Good to Go!’
At the National Maritime Museum, visitors will be able to see the most mesmerising images of the cosmos from the world-renowned astrophotography competition Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020. Images on display in this awe-inspiring photography exhibition include last year’s winners from the nine main competition categories, as well as two special prize winners: rmg.co.uk/astrophoto.
Another fascinating exhibition reopening its doors at the National Maritime Museum is the Exposure: Lives at Sea. Bringing together photography taken around the world by those in the maritime sector, this exhibition shines a light on the forgotten but integral work of seafarers. From the incredible reefs of Mexico to the isolation of Antarctica, the photographs show the myriad ways life can be spent at sea, and both the physical and mental challenges seafarers face daily: rmg.co.uk/exposure.
In collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, Royal Museums Greenwich will host a major exhibition exploring royal portraiture, opening on 28 May 2021. Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits will give visitors the opportunity to come face-to-face with the kings, queens and their heirs who have shaped British history and were so central to Greenwich. The exhibition will include over 150 works covering five royal dynasties. These are mainly drawn from the unparalleled collection of the National Portrait Gallery, and feature some of the most important artists to have worked in Britain, from Sir Peter Lely and Sir Godfrey Kneller to Cecil Beaton and Annie Leibovitz. They will be accompanied by significant pieces from Royal Museums Greenwich and other collections: rmg.co.uk/tudorstowindsors.
On 17 May 2021 the Queen’s House will be ready to welcome back the public and showcase its incredible artwork collection including works by Reynolds and Canaletto, and the display Faces of a Queen: The Armada Portraits of Elizabeth I. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the three surviving Armada portraits; Royal Museums Greenwich’s portrait, and versions from the National Portrait Gallery and Woburn Abbey, side by side in Greenwich – the birthplace of the Virgin Queen herself: rmg.co.uk/facesofaqueen.
Also in the Queen’s House, visitors will have the unprecedented opportunity to access for free the Woburn Treasures, the outstanding private art collection of The Duke and Duchess of Bedford, whilst Woburn Abbey is closed for refurbishment. The exhibition includes works by distinguished artists such as Van Dyck, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Poussin and Canaletto.
Cutty Sark, the last-surviving tea clipper in the world, will open its doors once again and the visitors will explore its remarkable history as the fastest, record-breaking ship of its era. Just in time for the half-term, there will be tours to learn the lesser-known extraordinary stories of the Cutty Sark. There is also a brand new exciting experience starting June 2021, ‘Cutty Sark Rig Climb Experience’, where visitors will be able to climb from the main deck up the ship’s rigging to experience the heights the crew would have had to scare on a daily basis when out at sea: rmg.co.uk/rigclimb
Additionally, the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the historic home of time and space, will open the North side, which includes the Prime Meridian line, the Flamsteed House, the Camera Obscura and the Great Equatorial Telescope. Visitors will be able to see the magnificent technology and craftmanship of John Harrison’s marine timekeepers, the apartments of the Royal Astronomers and learn about their work and lives at the observatory and step on the historic Prime Meridian line that divides the Eastern and Western hemispheres of the Earth. The Peter Harrison Planetarium will reopen from 20 May 2021 and the Astronomy Centre on the South side will remain closed due to refurbishment works.
Royal Museums Greenwich will continue to monitor the situation closely and base its approach on advice received from the Government and Public Health England: rmg.co.uk/welcomeback.