Gallery Museum

More London Museums and Galleries re-open

In addition to the museums and galleries mentioned in my last post, more venues are re-opening and announcing their plans for the coming weeks. All of the safety measures mentioned in my last blog are applicable to these venues, and all require pre-booking online in advance of any visit (including for members and corporate supporters), helping to ensure safe access to the arts across the city.

The Wallace Collection is now open to again, welcoming visitors seven days per week with revised opening hours from 11am to 3pm. There is a one way route through the historic rooms and collection, and their temporary exhibition ‘Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company’ will re-open on 29 July. The cloakroom and café remain closed, but there is a coffee cart outside the main entrance and the shop is open but taking payment by contactless/card only.

Dulwich Picture Gallery re-opened its gardens alongside the café for takeaway and a pop-up shop from Saturday 4 July, allowing the public to safely enjoy their three acres of outdoor space and the exterior of the building designed by Sir John Soane.

Historic Royal Palaces who look after six sites are also re-opening their indoor and outdoor spaces. From Friday 10 July The Tower of London started welcoming visitors again and will be open on Wednesday to Sunday from 11am until 6pm, with last admission at 5pm. Hampton Court Palace will re-open with the exception of the Magic Garden and Maze from Friday 17 July, on Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30am until 5pm. Kensington Palace will welcome visitors again from Thursday 30 July and will be open to the public on Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30am until 5pm. Banqueting House and Kew Palace however will remain closed until March 2021.

Charles Dickens Museum will be re-opening on Saturday 25 July, with revised opening hours of Friday to Sunday from 10am until 5pm (with last admission at 4pm). All rooms will be open as well as the shop, toilets and walled garden, however the café will remain closed in order to follow social distancing requirements.

The Design Museum will partially open to the public again from Friday 31 July, allowing visitors to see their temporary exhibition ‘Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers’. In addition to tickets being booked in advance of visiting, they will also be timed with a maximum of 1 hour 30 minutes. Face coverings are also compulsory and they advise bringing your own headphones to enjoy the multi-media elements.

The Natural History Museum will be welcoming visitors again from Wednesday 5 August. They will be closed every Monday and Tuesday, and open on Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 6pm with last entry at 5pm.

The V&A will be re-opening the following day, on Thursday 6 August. They will operating with reduced opening hours and open on Thursday to Sunday from 11am until 3pm, and then increasing opening hours from 27 August when they will be open Thursday to Sunday from 11am until 7pm.

The Science Museum will also be open again from Wednesday 19 August, daily from 10am until 6pm, offering access to Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery exploring how science and maths shape our everyday lives and Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries showcasing 3,000 medical objects and related commissioned artworks.

Image: The Great Gallery © The Trustees of the Wallace Collection


Conrad Shawcross: Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery and contemporary art are not words you hear together very often…. I’d even go so far as to say they’re an oxymoron (although perhaps that’s a little harsh!). Currently however an energetic series of sculptures and an accompanying lightwork installation by artist Conrad Shawcross are on display, adding interest to the quaint south London gallery. “Counterpoint” the name given to the installation is displayed in the Gallery’s atmospheric mausoleum, and the industrial oak and steel frame contrast beautifully against the marble columns and stain glass of the Gallery founders’ burial chamber. In addition, three robust cast iron maquettes (scaled-down versions of the larger Shawcross sculptures recently erected in nearby Dulwich Park) punctuate the length of the enfilade, and deliberately get in the way of visitors usually clear passageway through the Gallery. These too conflict and jar with the heavy red walls, Old Masters paintings and Regency architecture of Sir John Soane’s purpose built space. It is an abstract visualisation of musical harmonics, and displaying the installation and sculptures together allows visitors to appreciate the journey the artist has been on. To summarise; the installation has four spinning arms and at the tip of each arm is an electric bulb, and at the base of each arm a bevel gear. Each gear is set to a different ratio (representing either the octave, fifth or fourth within the harmonic scale) and the patterns of light thrown by this create different ‘knots’ of light when captured using a slow exposure photograph – and it is these ‘knots’ of light which inspired the three sculptures. Love it, hate it or be confused by it – this installation is certainly stimulating conversation and getting people to question what’s in front of them, which is exactly what art should do in my opinion.

For more information visit their website