You are currently browsing the daily archive for 20/03/2020.

As the Coronavirus COVID-19 ‘crisis’ apparently deepens, and mass paranoia sets in, the heritage sector is as badly hit as any other. The situation is changing day by day and almost hour by hour but at the time of writing the following measures have been announced so far:

  • English Heritage has closed all their staffed historic sites from the end of Wednesday 18th March until 1st May, although this will doubtless be reviewed and probably extended at some future point. Unstaffed and free to enter sites are not affected, as they are deemed to be sufficiently spacious to allow ‘social distancing’, and many such sites are often off the beaten track and uncrowded.
  • The National Trust will, where possible, open many of its gardens and parks for free, but close its houses, cafes and shops.
  • The British Museum has taken the decision to close temporarily but will make many of its collections and exhibitions available online where possible.
  • CADW are following the lead of the National Museum of Wales and the National Library of Wales in closing all sites with staffed visitor centres to the public until further notice.
  • Historic Scotland has also taken the decision to close public access to their staffed properties and offices until further notice.

In addition, many regional and local museums and other attractions are closing or seriously restricting their access, on government advice, as are many record and archive centres. In short, if you are planning a visit to such facilities, check first!

Many local archaeology societies following government advice have had to cancel lectures, walks and talks, and local fieldwork and clearups – essentially shutting down operations to an absolute minimum.

Although the current government advice is for self-isolation and social distancing, there is a possibility that this may change in the near future – Spain has introduced a severe lock-down and people there have been arrested/fined for unnecessary travel. Until such measures come into effect in the UK however, it is still feasible to visit many of our ancient monuments, for the purposes of exercise and fresh air, as long as the guidelines for risk reduction are followed.

 

 

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