With new Government advice at the start of July leading to the easing of coronavirus restrictions across the four home nations, some larger museum ships have been able to reopen to the public this month.  Cutty Sark, RRS Discovery (pictured) and ss Great Britain have all opened their doors in the last few weeks, and HMS Unicorn opens this weekend.

Maritime museums are also preparing to reopen, and The Mary Rose Trust, National Maritime Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Time & Tide Museum, Scottish Fisheries Museum, Scottish Maritime Museum, Swansea's National Waterfront Museum and National Museum of the Royal Navy's sites at Portsmouth, Gosport, Hartlepool and Yeovilton are all busy putting in place new measures to keep staff and the public safe when they do reopen to the public.  Chatham Historic Dockyard, Southampton's Sea City and the National Maritime Museum Cornwall all opened their doors this week. 

Government and Heritage Lottery Fund Covid-19 rescue packages have now started to come through, meaning that some museums and historic vessels which were uncertain if they could reopen due to financial concerns, will now be able to start preparing to welcome the public once more. 

However, the need for social distancing measures to be implemented means many smaller museum ships such as Glasgow's Tall Ship Glenlee, Belfast's ss Nomadic and HMS Belfast in London remain closed for the time being.  The National Museum of the Royal Navy has also announced that HMS Caroline in Belfast will not open in 2020.  The financial legacy of Covid-19 remains an issue for the entire heritage sector, and early visitor numbers are very low everywhere, especially for those sites that usually rely heavily on overseas tourists.  

RRS Discovery