Museum Reopening Guidance and Checklist


Update 10 May 2021

Step 3 reopening Monday 17 May

  • Indoor museums and galleries in England permitted to open with COVID-secure measures.
  • Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
  • Indoor gatherings limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • Outdoor gatherings limited to 30 people.
  • People will be able to attend indoor and outdoor events, including business events.
  • Guidance on meeting family and friends will be updated. The public can make informed, personal decisions on close contact, such as hugging, with their friends and family. Close contact continues to carry a risk of catching or spreading COVID-19, and people must consider the risk to themselves and to others.
  • Social distancing is still very important. You should stay 2 metres apart from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings) if you cannot stay 2 metres apart.
  • COVID-safe rules remain for the workplace and businesses, such as shops and hospitality.

Click here to see the information on further easing of restrictions from 17 May>>

Click here to see the latest Coronavirus guidance on what you can and cannot do>>

Update 7 April 2021

Following the government announcements regarding reopening, NMDC have updated the Reopening Guidelines. A key change relates to test and trace requirements – every visitor/customer to provide name and contact details. You can see the full list of amends to the original guidance here>>

Museum Reopening Guidance and Checklist

The Coronavirus Covid-19 NMDC Good Practice Guidelines on the Reopening of Museums after July 4, 2020 (hereafter Guidelines) has been developed by the National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC) Planning and Remobilisation Group with support from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and contributions from across the museum sector, including AIM. It is intended for use by museums in England.

Alongside this, a checklist has been produced by AIM and the Museum Development Network (MDN) to be used in conjunction with the Guidelines and to help museums take a strategic, well informed approach to making decisions on reopening and implementing a safe and effective plan in conjunction with the national guidance for museums.

You can work through the AIM / MDN checklist via the links below.

The checklist does not tell you exactly how your reopened museum should operate – individual circumstances will vary enormously – it is intended to help you develop your reopening plans and provides you with a methodology to follow.

Depending on the nature of your operation, you may also look to draw on other government guidance. The Guidelines references other guidance relevant to museums, including that for heritage, workplaces, shops and accessing green spaces.

HSE have produced an aide memoire to returning to work safely and the key Health & Safety considerations all businesses should address as part of their COVID-19 risk assessment. You can read the summary guidance here>>

AIM/MDN Checklist

Step 1 – Consult 
Step 2 – Assess risk
Step 3 – Check financial viability
Step 4 – Plan 
Step 5 – Communicate with staff and volunteers
Step 6 – Check in on wellbeing 
Step 7 – Communicate with visitors
Step 8 – Use your local network
Step 9 – Use museum networks
Step 10 – Be flexible

Checklist Resources

Coronavirus COVID-19 NMDC Good Practice Guidelines for Reopening Museums after 4th July 2020
Download AIM/MDN Checklist as a pdf document.
Download AIM/MDN Checklist infographic.
Download and print Test and Trace explainer posters


Keep Wales safe; guidance for tourism and hospitality. Museums are included within this reopening guidance to protect staff, volunteers and visitors. Click here for the Welsh government reopening guidance>>

Welsh government Culture and heritage destinations and venues: guidance for a phased return>>


The Scottish government has issued ‘Coronavirus (Covid-19): guidance for museums, galleries and heritage attractions‘ for AIM members in Scotland.

Scottish government Coronavirus (Covid 19): guidance for museums, galleries and heritage attractions

Learning services – Space for Learning, Clore Duffield Foundation, GEM Heritage, Engage and the Theatre Education Forum have put together Covid secure guidance for museums, galleries, heritage and performing arts sites. They aim to provide a practical framework to think about what is needed to continue, or restart, learning services during the Covid-19 pandemic and to support the health and wellbeing of workers and audiences.  Read the guidance here. 

EMBED Reopening Recommendations – Created in collaboration with the Disability Collaborative Network and University of East Anglia, EMBED guidance considers and offers solutions to the potential barriers faced by disabled visitors and customers. Read the guidance here. 

Watch reopening case studies from AIM members here. Hear about their experiences, what they’ve learnt and the one piece of advice they want to share with other museums.

NHS App resources

DCMS has shared the following comms packs to support your communications of the Regulations’ requirements to staff and customers.

Further information and resources can also be found at:

Information and resources – NHS COVID-19 app support – NHS.UK>>

Coronavirus resources – Coronavirus Resource centre (>>

NHS COVID-19 app posters (>>