Freedom to Visit Museums?

The changes to the COVID safety precautions on 19th July have presented us with a dilemma at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft.

Some of our visitors, volunteers and staff are vulnerable or young enough not to be double vaccinated, and some have been shielding since the beginning of the pandemic. Freedom for the non-vulnerable double vaccinated is one thing, but if that means less freedom for others that’s not equitable and doesn’t sit well with DMAC’s commitment to being inclusive. As a result, we have decided to take matters into our own hands and require masks to continue to be worn in the museum and shop along with retaining social distancing measures, restricting numbers, hand sanitising and additional cleaning. The response from visitors has been extremely positive, and we hope this will mean most people feeling confident to visit.

For more vulnerable visitors we are also introducing special Quiet Sessions when numbers are even lower and access to the shop as well as the museum is restricted to pre-booked visitors only.  For additional reassurance, Quiet Sessions will be on days with no general public access and we are also able to take bookings for private group visits for those who want to be in the museum only with close friends or family. We hope this might make people who haven’t felt able to go to public venues so far feel safe enough to consider a visit.

The changes in regulations effectively mean that the most vulnerable are excluded again from many ordinary experiences, with individual responsibility resulting in people feeling their personal risk is too high to chance going out. We can’t do much about the infection rates, but by putting these measures in place we hope that we will make it possible for more people to take part in normal life again (whatever that looks like now!) and make it clear that we haven’t forgotten those who for whatever reason still can’t access many aspects of everyday life.

Look here for details of our measures and dates for Quiet Sessions. If you’d like to book and there’s no availability let us know by emailing, as if there’s enough demand we can arrange more dates.

If there are other ways we can make you feel confident to visit please let us know.

I hope we can see you soon!