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After over four months of closure, Maidenhead Heritage Centre re-opened its doors to the public on Wednesday 29 July 2020. I went along with my children (12 & 6 yrs) on Friday 31 July to show my support. I love museums (obviously given I work in one!) and it was great to be back in a museum again. It was also a great opportunity to see what changes have been made within the space to make their staff and visitors feel safe when visiting.
I checked their website before visiting to read through their Covid-19 policy. Everything is clearly presented explaining the new cleaning procedures for the museum and expectations from visitors. As a parent, I felt safe taking my two children to visit the space.
Face coverings are mandatory, so we put ours on before entering the museum. On arrival there is a hand sanitizer station and the doors are automatic so you don’t even have to touch any door handles to get in.
We were greeted by a lovely volunteer who was sitting behind clear protective screens and she showed us where to fill in the track & trace form and gave us important safety information before we started our visit.
There is a one-way system in place with big yellow arrows on the floor which you can’t miss. There are gloves available if you would like to look through any of the local information folders and other hand sanitizer stations around the spaces.
They have a new exhibition Summer on the River 2020 which is running until Sunday 30 September 2020. It is a small well-presented display and we were lucky to get a personal tour from the museum Director! You can hear more about the carbon fibre oar on loan to them here.
The upstairs gallery contains their ATA exhibition and the spitfire simulator. Only one family bubble is permitted upstairs at a time, so at busy times you may have to wait. There is however an AV screen with an introductory video all about the ATA to watch if you do have to wait. This can be viewed by 4 people from the same bubble safely as the space is protected with some full-length screens.
The spitfire simulator is only available if booked in advance via phone 01628 780555 or email. This was the highlight of the visit for my eldest. He flew to France which was much further than he was expecting! The volunteer supporting the flight wore a face covering and followed social distancing guidelines at all times. After use, the whole simulator was cleaned ready for use by the next pilot. My youngest was too young to fly but there was information about how a plane stays in the air and an air flow experiment to entertain her and also some paper, so we made paper aeroplanes to fly outside!
On returning downstairs we sanitized our hands again and proceeded to the retail area. There are currently some contemporary pieces available by the Craft Coop which is an excellent partnership to support local crafts.
We spent a lovely couple of hours here, but most of all we felt very safe during our visit.
Museum, Arts & Local Studies Officer
Windsor & Royal Borough Museum
Mum of Two