Your visit to the Barber: Frequently Asked Questions

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

Your visit

Do I need to book before visiting?

No, not for general admission. Advance booking is no longer required or available for self-guided visits. However, you’ll still need to book in advance for both on-site and online events.

Do I need to pay to visit the Barber?

No, admission for a general visit to our galleries, including our special exhibitions, is always free.  Admission charges may apply for specific bookable events and activities.

What are the opening times?

The galleries are open 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Last entrance to the galleries is at 4.45pm and our Visitor Assistants start to close the galleries at 4.50pm, the building closes to visitors at 5pm. The Barber is closed for public visits on Mondays to enable essential collections work to take place in the galleries.

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 time-limit for your visit.

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 multi-storey (no lift) 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 any available space providing the Blue Badge is clearly displayed. There are parking bays in front of the Barber, but these cannot be pre-booked.

Health and Safety Precautions

Please delay your visit if you are unwell and reschedule for when you are better and more likely to enjoy your time with us. This is particularly important if you have or suspect you have Covid.  

Do I need to wear a face-covering?

There is no legal requirement to do so. However, we recommend that visitors wear face-coverings (unless exempt) during their visit out of courtesy to other visitors, students and our staff. We have a limited supply of single-use face-coverings we can provide at your request. 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?

Not for general visits. However, we ask you to respect the personal space of other visitors and we are confident that our galleries allow for this mutually courteous behaviour without specific limits or one-way routes.  Group sizes for events are still limited to avoid crowding and to enhance the quality of the experience.

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 is cleaned daily prior to opening.

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, but we ask visitors to respect the space of others. We can provide portable stools on request; these will be cleaned between users.

Has the Barber done a Risk Assessment?

Covid-specific Risk Assessments are no longer required for University of Birmingham buildings but the Barber’s operational approach follows ALVA recommendations and was approved by Visit Britain’s Good to Go industry standard. Our General Emergency Evacuation Plan (GEEP) can be found here [link].

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. 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. Please speak to a member of our Visitor Services team for access.

Are baby-changing facilities available?

Yes. We have a 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 level access by calling 0121 414 7333 or emailing reception@barber.org.uk before your visit.

The Barber lift operates between all floors giving access to the galleries, the shop, and an accessible toilet. The lift is available by request for those visitors who require it, including wheelchair-users, visitors with mobility issues or with buggies.  Please ask a member of the Visitor Services team who will be happy to help.

Can I buy refreshments on my visit?

Yes. You can buy teas, coffee, cold drinks and snacks. We accept contactless and cash payments. Tables in the foyer are provided for visitors who have purchased refreshments from our shop. Water is also provided for visitors; please bring your own bottle or ask a Visitor Assistant for a disposable paper cup.

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

No.  With limited space and to maintain hygiene, the foyer tables and chairs are for the use of visitors who have purchased drinks and snacks in our shop. 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 you are welcome to use the campus for this purpose.

Can I buy a souvenir of my visit?

Yes, the Barber shop sells a selection of catalogues, books, greetings cards and postcards. We accept contactless and cash payments. 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 donate online [link] or make a cash donation if you prefer. Your donations help us to share the collections, supporting our Learning and 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 (optional) ensures you’ll see everything on display. In addition, we have our special coin exhibition The First Dictators for you to enjoy, as well as regularly changing print-bay displays and exciting new loans.

Is there information on the collection in the galleries?

Yes. The works in the galleries all have information labels. Large-print and case labels are available in the galleries

Are you offering activities and workshops on site?

Yes, please check the website, which has details of our onsite and online events programme. Advance booking is essential for all events.

What has happened to your schools programme?

The Learning and Engagement team has 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. We will b extending our schools offer for the 2022-23 academic year. Please contact the team if you’d like to find out more.

 Are concerts taking place at the Barber? 

The Barber Concert Hall is currently closed as the auditorium is unventilated, but Barber Lunchtime and Evening concerts continue to take place at our nearby venue on campus, the Elgar Concert Hall in the Bramall Music Building.

Can I visit the Prints and Drawings Study Room?

Yes. Study Room visits must be booked in advance and are currently available on Mondays only and for up to four visitors at a time. The study room is a small, enclosed space so we ask that you wear a face-covering for your visit unless you are exempt.

Can I visit the Coin Study Room?

Yes. Coin Study Room visits must booked in advance and are currently available only on Mondays for solo visitors. The coin study room is a small, enclosed space so we ask that you wear a face-covering for your visit unless you are exempt.

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). The Barber also welcomes school groups to our galleries Monday to Friday.

I can’t visit in person – what’s available for me?

There is a wealth of information on our collection online, and we’ve launched several digital initiatives over the last two years, including Barber Home and Tuesday Talks, available in our web archive. You can also participate in our ongoing programme of live online talks and events.

Version 20: 20 May 2022

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.