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 November 2021.

Your visit

Do I need to book before visiting?

Yes please. To guarantee a visit at the time of your choice please book your free ticket online and in advance. Please be aware you cannot book online on the day of your visit. Book ahead to avoid any disappointment. Walk-up tickets may be possible on the day but we cannot guarantee this and reserve the right to refuse entry if we are at capacity.

Why do I have to book a ticket?

We are still operating admission by timed ticket to control capacity in the galleries so that there is enough space for everyone to maintain their preferred distance from others in the building and feel safe and comfortable during their 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. We have an NHS QR code on display in the foyer which we encourage you to use.

How many tickets can I book?

You can book as many tickets as are available to you on the Art Tickets system. Each person in the group should have their own ticket, including children under 16.

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 online and you arrive at the gallery, we may be able to accommodate your visit as a ‘walk up’ if there is gallery capacity. In this instance we will book your ticket for you on site. However, you may have to wait and we reserve the right to deny entry if we are already at capacity.

When should I arrive at the Barber?

Please arrive as close to your timed slot as possible.

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

Yes. Members of the Barber Association should also book a free 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 should also book a free 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 should also 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 to an hour to enjoy the galleries fully. However, to respect the needs of other visitors, 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 every 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.

Will I need to give my name and contact number for test and trace?

No. Name and contact details for museum visits are no longer required for NHS Test and Trace. An NHS QR code is displayed in the foyer which we encourage visitors to scan.

Do I need to wear a face covering?

Yes, unless you are exempt. From 10 December face coverings are compulsory in museums; this applies to all areas of the museum. This is in line with current legislation, museum-sector best practice and guidance provided by the University of Birmingham. 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, unless exempt, will be wearing face coverings.

Are social distancing measures in place?

We are still operating at reduced capacity and suggesting a recommended route, so visitors should be able to maintain their preferred distance from others and feel safe and comfortable. Smaller and more confined spaces in the galleries – the Print Displays and the Coin Gallery – have advisory capacity limits indicated and we would appreciate visitors’ co-operation with this.

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.

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 open windows. When the weather allows, the main doors to the Barber are 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 visitors to respect the space of others. 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, government-supported sector guidance for museums and current sector good practice. The Risk Assessment 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’s operational approach follows the National Museum Directors Council Good Practice Guidelines for Museum Reopening, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions’ guidance for Step 4 and has been approved by the Visit Britain’s Good to Go industry standard.

Cloakroom, Toilets, Visitor Facilities

Can I leave items in a cloakroom?

There are no supervised secure cloakroom facilities. Coats and bags cannot be left on the first floor gallery level. Please do not bring large bags or large umbrellas, and be prepared to carry your coat with you on your visit. We can provide umbrella bags for your convenience. Coats may be left on the hooks available in the foyer at visitors’ own risk. Please 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.

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 are on the first floor accessed by a flight of 31 shallow steps with hand rails either side. Level access is available.

Please help our team to help you by letting them 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 maintain high standards of hygiene and to help visitors maintain their preferred distance from others, 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?

Yes, the Barber shop is open again with a selection of catalogues, books, greetings cards and post cards.You can also buy a souvenir of your visit online via our ART UK online store.

Can I make a donation during my visit?

Yes please! We have two contactless donation points in the building to ensure donations to the Barber can be made safely and conveniently. You can also make a cash donation if you prefer. You donations help us to share the collections, supporting our Learning & Engagement programme and our Internship scheme.

What will I be able to see on my visit?

All four main galleries of the Barber are open and our recommended route allows you to see everything on display, browsing as you wish in each individual room. We also have our free autumn exhibition, Miss Clara and the Celebrity Beast in Art open in the Lady Barber Gallery, and a coin exhibition The First Dictators 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.

Will you be offering activities and workshops on site?

Yes, for our public programme, please check the website, which has details of events on site as well as  online activities and resources.

What has happened to your schools programme?

The Learning & Engagement Team have developed our Barber Schools programme. We are now able to offer Secondary School groups (KS3 and above) online workshops and self-guided visits, both of which are supported by downloadable resources for teachers. Please explore our Barber Schools webpages to find out more.

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?

Yes. Study room visits must be booked in advance and are currently available for single visitors only on Mondays. Please wear a face covering for your visit.

Can I visit the Coin Study Room?

Yes. Coin Study Room visits must booked in advance and are currently available for single visitors only on Mondays. Please wear a face covering for your visit.

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 takes place in the Barber building Monday to Friday (in the galleries, lecture theatre and various teaching spaces). We monitor ticket release to allow for pre-booked, timetabled teaching in the galleries and to ensure that everyone can maintain their preferred distance from each other and avoid crowding.

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, which are available in our web archive. We are continuing to develop these activities, with new content uploaded frequently.

Version 17; 29 November 2021


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.