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Tyneside’s Museums and Galleries Confirm Reopening from 17 May, with New Chief in Post

People craving a dose of culture can experience the region’s galleries and museums again from 17 May.  
 

Newcastle’s Laing Art Gallery and Discovery Museum, Newcastle University’s Great North Museum: Hancock, and South Shields Museum & Art Gallery all reopen on 17 May. Wallsend’s Segedunum Roman Fort & Museum and Arbeia, South Shields’ Roman Fort also reopen fully from 17 May. Gateshead’s Shipley Art Gallery reopens 18 May.  
 

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ new Director Keith Merrin, who took over in April, said:  

 “It is fantastic to be reopening Tyneside’s museums and galleries again, and to welcome people back.  We’ve got a great programme of exhibitions and events for visitors to enjoy including the new Challenging Convention exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery.  

“Our staff have been working hard behind the scenes and we have social distancing measures in place to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience.”     
 

North Shields’ Stephenson Steam Railway will reopen on 23 May. Newcastle University’s Hatton Gallery will reopen 5 June and Tyne & Wear Archives will reopen 8 June.   
 

Visitors will be asked to book online tickets in advance, and comply with government guidance on face mask wearing, social distancing and participating in the Test and Trace system.   
 

Fewer people will be admitted to the venues, and some spaces may be closed where it is difficult to implement social distancing but staff will be on hand to guide visitors and answer questions.  Information about planning a visit including pre-booking tickets, can be found here: https://www.twmuseums.org.uk/planning-your-visit 
 

So what’s on to see?  

Laing Art Gallery’s new Challenging Convention exhibition launches on 17 May, exploring four women artists – Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), Laura Knight (1877-1970), Gwen John (1876-1939) and Dod Procter (1890-1972) through their lives and work in a climate of modernism, transformation and increasing emancipation. Free entry to the main gallery, exhibition fees apply.   
 

Discovery Museum has a packed week of family activities over half term, with events outside on the plaza and in the spacious Great Hall, from robot days to chalk art. Visitors can also explore the story of Tyneside, from Roman times to the present day, the region's shipbuilding heritage and inventions that changed the world. Free entry, some fees apply for events.  
 

Great North Museum: Hancock – Gateshead’s art gaming talent is showcased in Otherworlds: The Art of Atomhawk, where visitors can enter the fantasy universe of The Realm and experience Tyneside like never before. Visitors can also experience the world under one roof from Ancient Egypt, to the Ancient Greeks, the natural world and the region’s Roman heritage. And of course, a life-size T.rex replica skeleton. Free, donations welcome.   
 

South Shields Museum & Art Gallery’s major retrospective exhibition of artist and teacher Sheila Graber, Sheila from Shields, Her Cat and the Rainbow, which was originally planned for May 2020, launches on 17 May. Visitors can also delve into the heritage of South Tyneside from prehistoric times to the present day. Free, donations welcome.   
 

Shipley Art Gallery, will reopen its gallery spaces featuring art and craft treasures including William Irving's painting of characters from the famous Geordie song, The Blaydon Races, and Anthony Gormley’s original maquette for the Angel of the North. In June there are art classes for family groups and ceramics workshops with Muddy Fingers Pottery, with more classes planned for summer. Free entry, event fees apply.  
 

Segedunum Roman Fort & Museum and Arbeia, South Shields’ Roman Fort are launching new outdoor adventure games based on the ‘Escape room’ concept with clues and costumed characters around the site set in the time of Roman occupation.
 

Help Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums ensure art, culture & heritage continue to make a positive impact in our region. Donate here: https://www.twmuseums.org.uk/about/appeal