Museum promises Christmas to remember after lockdown

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust today promised a Christmas to remember to help the region emerge from the November lockdown.

The museum has been forced to close its doors until the 2nd December under the terms of the Government’s latest lockdown to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust chief executive Nick Ralls said the closure was ‘a disappointment but understandable with the increasing rates of infection’ but promised that the museum would serve up a spectacular and unmissable Victorian Christmas as soon as it could reopen.

“Naturally we are disappointed that all our museums will be closed again during the lockdown period,” Mr Ralls said.

“The response from the public since our partial reopening in July has been wonderful and we have been delighted to welcome so many visitors to the sites through our timed ticket entry system.”

“For the time being all our sites will be closed, but we are absolutely determined that when we are able to reopen in early December we will be able to provide people with a Christmas experience they will remember – and the Christmas we all deserve after such a difficult year.

“We know that after another period of lockdown people will be desperate to get out and enjoy a safe, magical festive season, and that is just what we have lined up. We will refund or reschedule any booking we are not able to honour because of coronavirus, so I’d urge everyone to book for Christmas now to make sure they don’t miss out.”

Attractions will include two special Christmas weekends at Blists Hill Victorian Town –– featuring brass bands and carol singers, a Victorian Christmas shopping emporium, pantomime and performances, Horse Bus rides, a host of free themed craft activities and even falling snow.

And of course, Father Christmas will be visiting across the Trust’s sites – more information can be found online.

New for 2020 is the real-ice Ice Rink at Blists Hill Victorian Town where visitors can have some fun and show off their skating skills. Time slots for ice skating, which carries an additional charge, can be booked at www.ironbridge.org.uk

Christmas is also coming to the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron each weekend in December with the return of the popular Winter Wonderland Grotto where Father Christmas will visit along with his elves.

“We will continue to do everything we can when we do reopen to ensure our museums meet all the latest safety guidelines and comply with any restrictions the Government imposes,” Mr Ralls added.

He said a number of staff would be placed on furlough during the lockdown and that the museum would continue to develop its digital offer, particularly for schools.

“Even though we are closed for a month, we will still be able to offer some fantastic resources to schools and continue to develop our exciting online offer, such as the Museum from Home initiative. It is really important to us that despite the current situation we continue to fulfil our mission to educate and inspire the next generation about the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.”

Throughout lockdown the Furnace Kitchen in Coalbrookdale will be open for takeaway pizza on Friday evenings and for Sunday lunch take out. Check out the museum’s social media channels for more details or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk to see menu options and collection time slots.

As the museum’s popular Fireworks Night can’t go ahead this year they are offering a digital Light Up Ironbridge pack filled with Bonfire Night facts, recipes and children’s activities. You can get your hands on your downloadable pack now for just £15 – all proceeds will go towards keeping Ironbridge running.

The Trust – a registered education and heritage conservation charity which cares for 35 listed buildings in the Gorge – says it expects a £4million shortfall in revenue this year as a result of the pandemic.

For more details and tickets visit https://www.ironbridge.org.uk/

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