Covid-19: Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQs below set out what is in place at the Barber to keep everybody safe and comfortable and let you what to expect on your visit.

Page last amended 29 April 2021. 

Your visit

Do I need to book before visiting?

Yes. All visitors must have a ticket booked online and in advance. Please book on Art Tickets. Please be aware you cannot book online on the day of your visit; book in advance to avoid any disappointment.

Why do I have to book a ticket?

Admission by timed ticket allows us to manage capacity so that everyone can comfortably maintain two-metre social distancing. The ticketing system also collects contact details needed should we be required to support NHS Test & Trace.

It is a government requirement that museums support NHS Test & Trace and provide contact information if required. By booking your ticket with Art Tickets you give your details and your consent for us to use these details should this be required to support the NHS Test & Trace service. All personal visitor details are managed in compliance with GDPR. Contact details will only be passed on request to support NHS Test & Trace and only within 21 days of your visit.

What happens when I arrive at the Barber?

When you arrive at the Barber, you’ll be asked to present your ticket – either as an e-ticket on your device or a print out – to our reception team. If you are over 16 and visiting as part of a group (two to six people) and you did not make the booking, we need to take your name and contact details. You can do this either by giving your name and contact details to our reception team or by ‘checking in’ and scanning the NHS QR code on display.

It is now a legal requirement for venues to collect names and contact details for all visitors over 16, not just the person who made the booking. All personal details are managed in compliance with GDPR. Contact details will only be passed on request to support NHS Test & Trace and only within 21 days of your visit.

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

No. You can either ‘check in’ by scanning the NHS QR code if you have the app on your smartphone or give your name and details to our reception team.

I already have the NHS Covid-19 App on my smartphone – do I still need to book a visit?

Yes, you still need to book your visit through Art Tickets as this system allows us to manage capacity.

Why do I have to provide my name and contact details to visit?

If you are over 16 this is a legal requirement. We reserve the right to deny entry to visitors who do not provide this information.

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 under 16. Unfortunately, we cannot accept larger group bookings at this time to ensure low capacity. The group can now comprise up to six members from different households. Please check the government website for details of current restrictions in place.

Can I arrange to meet up with a friend at the Barber?

Yes, you can now meet up with friends indoors in a group of up to six.

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 by 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 you arrive at the gallery, we may be able to accommodate your visit if there is gallery capacity. In this instance we will book you in on site. However we cannot guarantee this and reserve the right to deny entry if we are at capacity.

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 Northeast Car Park at Pritchatts Road.

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.

Coronavirus Precautions

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. 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 galleries and other public spaces do not get crowded and everyone can comfortably maintain two-metre social distancing. Signage and floor markings are in place to remind visitors to maintain two-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 has an enhanced cleaning regime in place. Details of this are available at reception.

Is the building air-conditioned?  Is the building well-ventilated?

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 as well as the windows to ensure fresh airflow. The first floor galleries are serviced by an air-handling system. This was refurbished in 2019; the intake 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 two-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 is regularly reviewed and we welcome any suggestions you may have. You may also see the Risk Assessment on the University of Birmingham’s website.

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.

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 reception@barber.org.uk 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 two-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. There is plenty of green open space on campus for picnicking and public visitors are welcome to use the campus for this purpose.

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 will reopen 11 June and we have a 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 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?

We are not able to host on site school visits at the Barber at the current time.  We will continue to review this in line with the latest guidance and provide updates here. New Barber Schools online resources will be available on our website this autumn.  If you have queries or would like to register your interest in our future Barber Schools offer please contact our Learning & Engagement team: learning@barber.org.uk.

Are concerts taking place at the Barber? 

No. The Barber Concert Hall is currently closed as the auditorium is unventilated.

Can I visit the Prints and Drawings Study Room?

We are currently unable to facilitate visits to the Prints and Drawings Study Room but anticipate this facility reopening at the end of June.

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. Teaching has finished for the academic year. 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 over the last year, including Barber Home and regular Tuesday Talks. We are continuing to develop these activities, with new content uploaded frequently.


Please email info@barber.org.uk if you have any questions or feedback.

Contact us

We hope that these FAQs answer any queries you may have about visiting the Barber but if not, please email us at info@barber.org.uk.

We look forward to welcoming you soon.