barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham



The FAQs below set out what is in place at the Barber to keep everybody safe and comfortable and lets you what to expect on your visit. If you have a question not covered here, please email us at We’ve also made a short film so you can see what to expect at the Barber (available soon).


Do I need to book before visiting?

Yes. All visitors must book a ticket online and in advance. Please book on Art Tickets.


Why do I have to book a ticket?

Admission by timed ticket allows us to manage capacity so that everyone can comfortably maintain 2 metre social distancing. The ticketing system also collects the details we need should we be required to support NHS Test & Trace. It is a government requirement that museums are able to support NHS Test & Trace and can provide contact information if required.


How many tickets can I book?

You can book up to six tickets online. Each person in the group must have their own ticket, including children. Unfortunately we cannot accept larger group booking at this time.


Do I have to pay for my ticket?

No. The tickets are free and general visits to the Barber are always free.


Does this new system cost the Barber money?

No. Art Tickets is a ticket management system provided the Art Fund, the national art charity, to UK museums and galleries at no cost.


What if I don’t have access to a phone or computer?

If you cannot book a ticket online and arrive at the gallery, we may be able to accommodate your visit if there is capacity and book you in on site, but we cannot guarantee this.


When should I arrive at the Barber?

Please arrive as close to your timed slot as possible.  There is limited space in the reception area, so you may have to wait outside if you are too early and gallery capacity is still full.


I am a member of the Barber Association, do I need to book?

Yes. Members of the Barber Association wishing to visit must book a ticket online and in advance.


I am a member of staff at the University of Birmingham, do I need to book?

Yes. University of Birmingham staff wishing to visit the galleries must book a ticket online and in advance.


I am a student at the University of Birmingham, do I need to book?

Yes. University of Birmingham students wishing to visit the galleries must book a ticket online and in advance.


What are the opening times?

The galleries are open 10am to 5pm Tuesdays to Sundays. The last ticket slot is available for 4pm. The Barber is closed for public visits on Mondays.


How much time should I allow for my visit? Is there a time limit?

We want you to enjoy the galleries at your own pace, so there is no specific time limit for your visit. We estimate that most visitors would like up an hour to enjoy the galleries fully. However, to respect the needs of other visitors and to ensure 2 metre social distancing, we may ask you to complete your visit after 90 minutes. The galleries close at 4.50pm, and the building closes to visitors at 5pm.


How do I get to the Barber? Can I park?

The Barber is on the campus of the University of Birmingham which is served by its own railway station, University Station, two stops from Birmingham New Street, and close to bus routes 1A, 61, 63, X20, X21 and X22. Parking (payable) is available every day at the University of Birmingham’s Pritchatt’s Road Car Park.

Visitors may park for free on campus on Saturdays and Sundays only. Blue Badge holders can park on campus very day and in front of the Barber when spaces are available. These spaces cannot be pre-booked.

Please note that until early November essential works on the gas main running through campus may cause diversions, so your walk from the station or car park, usually ten minutes and five minutes, may take longer than usual, so allow time for this. There is a cycle rack to the right of the main entrance.


Coronavirus Precautions

 When I visit will I need to register with the Test & Trace app from the NHS?

No. By booking your ticket with Art Tickets you have already given your details and your consent to use these details should this be required to support the NHS Test & Trace service. It is a government requirement that museums are able to support NHS Test & Trace and can provide contact information if required.  All personal visitor details are managed in compliance with GDPR. The Test & Trace service itself is managed by government and all personal information is deleted after 21 days.



Will you check my temperature when I visit?

No. We will not check your temperature. If you are feeling unwell with Covid-19 symptoms you should not visit but self-isolate at home and follow NHS guidance. If someone in your household has Covid-19 symptoms you should not visit, but stay at home and follow NHS guidance.


Do I need to wear a face covering?

Yes. You must wear a face covering by law in museums and galleries in England unless you are exempt, for example because of your age or a health condition. Please find more information on the government website.

If you forget and arrive without a face covering we have a limited supply of single-use face masks we can provide. A small donation for this service would be appreciated.


Will Gallery staff be wearing face coverings?

Yes. Visitor Assistants will be wearing face coverings, either visors or cloth or disposable face masks. All other building users will also be wearing face coverings.


Can I maintain good hygiene on my visit?

Yes. There are hand sanitiser units placed throughout the building, which we encourage you to use. Public washrooms are available for you to wash your hands.


How will social distancing be maintained?

Managing the number of visitors through timed tickets will ensure that the rooms do not get crowded and everyone can comfortably maintain 2 metre social distancing. Signage and floor markings are in place to remind visitors to maintain 2 metre social distancing and indicate where ‘one-way’ and ‘keep left’ routing is in place. Access to the stairs to the galleries on the first floor is managed by our Visitor Services Team to ensure only one person/small group uses them at a time. There is a simple one-way, chronological route through the galleries themselves. Everyone has a responsibility to maintain social distancing but if you are unclear or have questions about how to move through the building, our Visitor Assistants are on hand to help.


Is the Barber clean?

The Barber was deep-cleaned before reopening and has an enhanced cleaning regime in place. Details of this are available at reception.


Is the building air-conditioned?

The ground floor has no mechanical air-handling, ventilation is provided by opening windows. When the weather allows, the main doors to the Barber will be kept open. The first floor galleries are serviced by an air-handling system. This was refurbished in 2019, it draws in fresh air and does not recycle air.


Can I sit down in the galleries?

Yes. Benches are available for you but we ask you to maintain 2 metre social distancing.  We can provide portable stools on request, these will be cleaned between users.


Can I use the lift?

The Barber lift is available by request for those visitors who require it, including wheelchair users, visitors with mobility issues or with buggies.  Please just ask a member of the Visitor Services Team.


Has the Barber done a Risk Assessment?

Yes. A comprehensive Risk Assessment was undertaken in line with University of Birmingham protocols and government sector guidance for museums. This is available to consult at reception. It will be regularly reviewed and we welcome any suggestions you may have.


Is the Barber in line with the Covid-19 Industry Standards?

Yes, The Barber has been approved by Visit Britain’s Good to Go industry standard.


What about local lockdown in Birmingham?

Additional restrictions imposed from 15 September ban households in Birmingham from mixing indoors at home or in private gardens, please see the government guidelines.

As with shops and restaurants, museums currently remain open for visitors in groups of up to six. Should government and/or University of Birmingham requirements or advice change, we will adjust our operations accordingly. This means the Barber may have to close to public access at short notice.


Cloakroom, Toilets, Visitor Facilities


Can I leave items in a cloakroom?

No. To prevent the possibility of cross infection, coats and bags cannot be left. Please do not bring large bags or large umbrellas, and be prepared to carry your coat with you on your visit. We ask you to carry backpacks on the front or held at your side. If you wish to leave a buggy, please speak to a Visitor Assistant who will be happy to assist you. Please travel light for your visit.


Are there toilets available?

Yes. Male and female public toilets are available on the ground floor, and an all gender accessible toilet is available on the first floor gallery level by request. The toilets have limited capacity so you may need to wait before you can enter and should knock and call before entering to alert anyone using the toilets ahead of you.


Are baby changing facilities available?

Yes. We have a newly refurbished baby changing facility on the first floor gallery level. Please speak to a member of our Visitor Services Team for access.


Is there level access to the Barber?

The main entrance to the Barber is accessed by a flight of 13 shallow steps with a central hand rail. The galleries on are on the first floor accessed by a flight of 31 shallow steps with hand rails either side. Level access is available. Please let our team know if you require this by calling 0121 414 7333 or emailing before your visit. A lift between floors for gallery access is available for visitors with wheelchairs, buggies or mobility needs, please ask a member of the Visitor Services Team.


Can I buy refreshments on my visit?

No. To help maintain hygiene and to concentrate on visitor and staff safety, the shop is currently closed and there are no refreshments available for purchase. However, water is provided for visitors. Please ask a member of the Visitor Services Team who will be happy to provide you with a disposable paper cup.


Can I bring my own food into the Barber to eat on my visit?

No. To help maintain 2 metre social distancing the foyer tables and chairs have been removed and we ask visitors not to use the foyer for picnicking. No food or drink is permitted in the galleries.


Can I buy a souvenir of my visit?

The Barber shop is currently closed but you can buy a souvenir of your visit online via our ART UK online store.


What will I be able to see on my visit?

All four main galleries of the Barber are open and your one-way circuit allows you to see everything on display, browsing as you wish in each individual room. Our main temporary exhibition space is currently closed but we have new coin exhibition for you to enjoy.


Is there information on the collection in the galleries?

Yes. The paintings and sculptures in the galleries all have information labels. Large print and case labels are available by request from the Visitor Services Team; these sheets are quarantined or cleaned between users. Family trails will be available to download ahead of your visit (available soon) or to access on your own device when you are in the gallery.


Will you be offering tours and workshops?

No. There are no tours or workshops on site at the current time. Please see the website for details of online activities and resources.


What has happened to your schools programme?

Barber Schools online resources will be available on our website this autumn. We are not able to host school visits at the Barber at the current time. We will review the offer in line with the latest guidance and provide updates here. Please contact our Learning & Engagement team,,  if you have further queries.


Are concerts taking place at the Barber?

No. The Barber Concert Hall is currently closed.


Can I visit the Prints and Drawings Study Room?

The Prints and Drawings Study Room is only available for research visits by prior appointment with the collections team. It is not available through the Art Tickets system. We can only offer a limited service in the coming months.


Can I visit the Coin Study Room?

The Coin Study Room is currently closed for research visits.


What else is going on at the Barber?

The Barber is home to the University of Birmingham’s Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies, ranked number 2 in the UK. Term commences 21 September and History of Art students will be attending classes in the Barber Lecture Theatre on the ground floor on weekdays from 28 September.  The Barber also houses the Barber Fine Art Library which is not open to the public.


I’m not ready to visit yet, what’s available for me?

There is a wealth of information on our collection online and we’ve launched lots of digital initiatives in the last six months, including Barber Home and regular Tuesday Talks. We are continuing to develop these activities, with new content uploaded every week.


We hope that these FAQs answer any queries you may have about visiting the Barber but if not, please email us at We look forward to welcoming you soon.