The Higgins Bedford is delighted to be reopening its doors and to welcome visitors back on 18th May, following the easing of national restrictions. The museum will return to its usual opening hours of Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 5pm and Sunday 2pm – 5pm.
Visitors will once again be able to enjoy displays telling the story of the local area, alongside nationally significant collections of art and design.
Measures are in place for the safety of visitors, volunteers and staff, and to help ensure an enjoyable experience for all. This includes reducing the capacity of the museum to ensure that people can socially distance. Visitors will need to book a free timed entry ticket online in advance by visiting www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk or by calling 01234 718044 (line open 11am-3pm Monday-Friday). Online bookings will be open from 11 May.
Everyone visiting The Higgins Bedford must wear a face covering, except for children under 11 or for the legitimate reasons set out in Government guidance. Visitors must only visit in groups of up to six people or two households.
Chosen as one of 25 museums across the UK to have an audio description recorded about a sculpture in the collection by VocalEyes, an organisation who provides access to the arts for blind and partially sighted people, The Higgins Bedford is pleased to announce a new addition to the galleries. Four Figures Waiting by Barbara Hepworth is now on permanent display and features an audio description which can be accessed through a QR code in the gallery.
An exciting partnership with East London Foundation NHS Trust has brought together a new display in the Castle Lane cases outside The Higgins Bedford with poetry, artwork and messages from people in Bedford and Luton, as well as information on groups offering mental health support.
After a short lived opening in autumn, visitors will also have another chance to see the latest temporary exhibitions and displays.
Under the Same Sky explores artists’ depictions of the sky above and the local impact of the weather over time, and runs until 27 June 2021. It combines works by major artists including JMW Turner, Alfred Sisley, Paul Nash, Edouard Manet and Eric Ravilious, with film, images and local stories, culminating in a reflection of our fascination with the weather and its effects on the world around us.
Over 20 sculptures from the Cecil Higgins Collection are on display until 10 October 2021, featuring works by Auguste Renoir, Henry Moore and Jacob Epstein. These range from traditional portrait busts to abstract works, with a number being on public display for the first time in several years.
Innovation and Tradition: 40 Years of Morris presents the story of Redbornstoke Morris and Bedfordshire Lace Morris teams, exploring themes of tradition and innovation. Both teams have innovated the tradition of folk dance to reflect the values of modern society, with Redbornstoke Morris developing their own dances and Bedfordshire Lace Morris becoming the first women’s Morris team in the county. The display runs until early 2023.
As well as being able to visit the galleries, the museum shop will be open with a range of items inspired by the collections, including gifts, cards, tea towels, books, toys and jigsaws. The Higgins Pantry café has already reopened for outside dining and will now be offering inside dining (opening times can be found at www.thehigginspantry.co.uk).
Cllr Doug McMurdo, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said “It’s fantastic news that we can now announce the reopening of The Higgins Bedford, following the Government announcement of the next step in the roadmap.“There is lots to see and do at The Higgins Bedford, with the return of exhibitions that sadly had to close early due to the lockdown, and new things to explore.
“Please remember to book your timed entry ticket online, and follow the COVID-19 safety measures in place throughout the museum and art gallery to keep staff, volunteers and other visitors safe- and welcome back!”