London’s museums and galleries have been forced to close their doors, and as a result are facing a crisis of funding.

Even the museums that are free to visit rely heavily on paid exhibitions which are now covered in dust sheets, and those that charge for entry are crippled by having to close their doors. Add in the loss of income from shops and cafes and most of London’s museums are facing an financial crisis that is not of their making.

Therefore it’s a good time to think about supporting London’s cultural centres – either by a flat-out donation, or join one of the many museum membership schemes.

Museum membership not only supports the museums financially, but when the doors are finally flung open once more, as a member you get a lot of benefits back in kind – from free entry to exhibitions, discounts, private events, and some even offer private members rooms to relax in.

I’ve trawled around looking at the venues I am aware of and seeing which have a Friends Society and listed them below.

Right now is the perfect time to support a London museum.

If your favourite museum isn’t listed below, then they wont have a membership scheme, but are probably still seeking donations anyway, so support them.

However, if you fancy looking forward to a year of exclusive events at your favouite museum(s) and galleries – then click below:

VenueCostKey Benefits
Barbican£59Discounts on events and cinema and no booking fees, priority booking, along with options for private views of galleries.
Benjamin Franklin House£25Free entry to the house, 2 guest tickets and discounts on events.
British Film Institute£37Priority ticket bookings, no booking fees, discounts in their shops, special events and previews.
British Library£80Free entry for you and a guest to paid exhibitions, priority booking to events, and up to 4 free event tickets per year. Access to a members’ only room.
British Museum£64Free entry to exhibitions and private members events. A members room in the museum and discount in the shops/cafe.
Brooklands Museum£47Free entry to the motoring museum, and special events.
Brunel Museum£10Free entry to the museum and invites to private events
Burgh House and
Hampstead Museum
£20Discounted admission to special events and private views, along with quarterly magazine.
Carshalton Water Tower£7Free entry to the tower, private views of exhibitions and friends only social events.
Cartoon Museum£35Free entry to the museum, exhibition previews and discounts on events.
Charles Dickens Museum£21Free entry for you and a guest and discounts in the shop and events.
Chelsea Physic Garden£40Free entry with a guest, free entry to partner gardens, and invites to special events.
Design Museum£65Unlimited admission, priority booking and invitations to members previews.
Dulwich Gallery£43Free entry to exhibitions, and invites to private viewings, plus discounts on events.
Foundling Museum£35Free admission to the museum. A wide range of activities each year, including private views, concerts and talks led by Museum experts.
Freemasons Museum£25Invites to private exhibition views and events.
Freud Museum£45Free entry to the museum, discounts on events and invites to private views.
Georgian Group£50Sizable regular magazine and access to an exclusive activities that includes visits to private houses not open to the public.
Grant Museum£20Adoption of a specimen animal, special trips and invites to the events.
Guildhall Art Gallery£25Free entry to paid exhibitions, plus free entry to Tower Bridge, Monument and Keats House
Handel House£40Priority booking for events, invites to private viewings.
Heath Robinson Museum£35Free entry to the museum, members events and priority booking.
Headstone Manor Museum£6Social events, visits and regular news updates
Honeywood Museum£10Priority booking and discounts for events.
Horniman Museum£31Free entry to Aquarium and exhibitions, 10% discount at the shop, a quarterly e-newsletter and invitations to exclusive members’ events and offers.
Imperial War Museum£35Free entry to all IWM museums, private views and members events.
Jewish Museum£35Free entry to the museum, invitation to private views of new exhibitions and curator tours
Keats House£35Unlimited free general admission to Keats House and invites to supporters events.
London Museum of Water & Steam£25Unlimited free visits, a quarterly newsletter, members only events, free entry to the nearby Musical Museum.
Kew Gardens£71Free entry for you and a guest to Kew Gardens and Wakehurst, priority booking to events, and a range of member events.
London Transport Museum£30Unlimited free entry to Museum at Covent Garden during all normal opening hours, plus one free entry to Acton Depot Open Weekend each year. Friends’ visits to transport and other venues.
London Zoo£105Unlimited entry to the two zoos, discounts in the shops, queue jump at the entry barriers, plus members events.
Museum of Brands£17Free entry to the museum for yourself for a year.
Museum of London£40Free entry to special exhibitions, along with special events exclusive to Friends. An invitation for you and a guest to Friends private views of exhibitions.
National Archives£25Friends only events and tours, and discounts in the book shop and at paid events.
National Army MuseumOn hold at the moment.
National Gallery£60Free entry to paid exhibitions, and invites to members events.
National Portrait Gallery£55Free entry to paid exhibitions, private viewings and discounts in the shops.
Natural History Museum£62Free entry to paid exhibitions, priority entry to the museum, private events, private members room.
Petrie Museum£25Special events and tours, plus seminars and regular news.
Pitzhanger£35Free entry to the gallery, exclusive events and discounts in the shop.
Postal Museum£45Free entry to the museum, 3 rides on the mail rail per year, invitations to private events and priority booking to public events.
Royal Greenwich Museums£44Free entry to the three museums, private views of galleries, and fast track entry.
Royal Institution of Great Britain£77Free tickets to lectures. Entry to members only events, along with quarterly newsletters and discounts on purchases.
Sadlers Wells£70Priority booking and 20% off tickets.
Sir John Soane’s Museum£40Discounts in the shop, plus invites to special events.
Southbank Centre£69Priority information and booking for key events throughout the year plus no booking fees. Unlimited entry to all exhibitions at The Hayward Gallery, plus access to the private Members Bar for you and a guest.
Strawberry Hill House£45Free entry to Strawberry Hill, invites to the summer party, discounts in the shop and events.
Tate£78Free entry to all paid exhibitions, private viewings, and members rooms
The Royal Academy of Arts£131Free entry to exhibitions for you and a family member. Visit each exhibition before it’s open to the public. A private members room, and quarterly newsletter.
V&A Museum£70Free entry to exhibitions and previews, special members events and private members room.
Wallace Collection£45Free entry to paid exhibitions, exclusive member events, discount in the shop and the restaurant.
Westminster Abbey£40Queue jump and free entry to the Abbey, private evening entry to the Abbey and exclusive lectures.
Whitechapel Gallery£50Private views of exhibitions, priority booking to events and discounts in the shop.

The National Groups
National Art Pass£73Discounted entry to art galleries across the UK.
Historic Royal Palaces£55Unlimited access to the six palaces throughout the year, a range of member events and discounts in the shops.
National Trust£72Free entry and parking at more than 300 historic houses and gardens.
English Heritage£63Free entry and parking at more than 400 historic houses and gardens.
Landmark Trust£48Priority booking to buildings and invites to events.
Historic Houses Association£56Free entry to hundreds of privately-owned houses, castles and gardens



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3 comments on “Support a London museum during the lockdown
  1. JP says:

    Decent research Ian grazie hombré and decent results.
    There’s lots of little museums and galleries in many market towns and even villages across the land that don’t have the wherewithal at the best of times.
    In these nearly the worst of times, they need remembering even more. They’re probably not able to digitise and yet – forgive me for mentioning the lawnmower museum in the backstreets of Southport again ~ are worth the act of discovery as they are invariably bloody wonderful in ways you’d never imagine. If you don’t believe me, give your local out-there collection a virtual visit or bung ’em a tenner to keep the lights on. As well as the other demands on your charity out there too.

  2. S.b says:

    I think your totally right, j.p and Ian, really the government should be handing Grant’s to the smaller museums that are the fabric of british culture.. who we are and also the experience to feel,show people of the future what went before.. rather than on a bloody computer.. ( internet ) ruiner of social and real life.. needs to be regulated. But never the less great post about museum help.

  3. Federico Meini says:

    Great thing! Remember if your favourite museum doesn’t offer membership think about making donations directly (contacting their visitor experience department or fundraising department directly if bank details or pages aren’t available on their website)

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