FREE VIRTUAL TOUR: Experience Barnsley digital showcase heralds re-opening of town's museums

DICKIE Bird, Kes, Oakwell and Albert Hirst black pudding - there's only one Barnsley.

Promoted by Barnsley Museums
Sunday, 16th May 2021, 6:00 am

Now its famous folk, along with its unsung heroes, places, objects, defining coal and glass industries, plus so much more, is being celebrated with a free virtual walk-through tour of the town's acclaimed new look Experience Barnsley Museum and Visitor Centre.

It was launched this weekend to preview the revamped museum before it re-opens for in person visits next week, along with Barnsley Museum's other sites, following months of closure due to Covid19 lockdown measures.

VISIT THE TOUR: Check out the incredible Experience Barnsley walk-through tour, packed full of video, photos, text and 360 degree photo hotspots, bringing the displays and town's rich history to life - CLICK HERE.

WATCH: Curator Steve Skelley took part in a free live streamed Q&A guided tour of the digital experience hosted by The Yorkshire Post and The Star's own Graham Walker, to showcase some of the exhibits and how it works. Watched by more than 3,000 people, when first seen on Facebook, it is now available on demand in HD quality - CLICK HERE.

During lockdown Barnsley Museums has also kept sites open digitally with virtual tours of its Cannon Hall Museum and permanent collections De Morgan Gallery: A Family of Artists and Cracking Ceramics, Worsbrough Mill and a hugely popular I Grew Up In The 80s temporary exhibition at Experience Barnsley. It has also delivered live streamed tours, talks, demonstrations, created online page-turning publications, podcasts, audio descriptions, videos and made world news with coverage as far away as Australia for its jigsaw puzzles of art works, museum objects and places.

For all that, and more, it has been shortlisted as a finalist in the prestigious Museums and Heritage Awards alongside mighty organisations including London Transport Museum, National Trust, National Galleries of Scotland, The British Museum and National Portrait Gallery. The winner will be announced in virtual ceremony on Thursday, July 1, at 7pm.For more visit

While its doors were closed, Experience Barnsley underwent a substantial refresh with lots of new objects and artifacts added.

The museum, which opened in 2013, is jam-packed with objects, photos, documents, films and stories of life in Barnsley. It’s a great place for locals to explore their heritage and for visitors to discover more about the amazing borough.

Along one side of the main gallery, The Barnsley Wall, has rare archaeological artifacts, object and archive displays, films and interactives which all trace the known history of the area from pre-historical times to the 21st century.

As well as presenting a timeline, the museum also explores working life, leisure time, and home and family over the years. has continued to collect items since opening, from medieval finds to Victorian costume and digital photos of life in lockdown.

Barnsley Museums gets financial support from Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust - to make a donation visit

Experience Barnsley Museum and Visitor Centre will re-open its doors after Covid19 lockdown to in person visits from Monday, May 17

It will re-open all its museum and gallery spaces from Monday, May 17, in line with the government road map.

The indoor offer within the museums buildings will be open to visitors for the first time in months after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Spaces reopening include;

* Experience Barnsley Museum including the Archives and Discovery Centre and gift shop

Experience Barnsley 3D virtual tour

* The Cooper Gallery, gift shop and cafes

* Cannon Hall Museum and gift shop - reopening Tuesday, 18 May (the parklands open all year round)

* Worsbrough Mill will remain closed but due to reopen in the summer (the Country Park remains open all year round)

* Elsecar Heritage Centre – shops, café and visitor centre are open with the Gallery space due to reopen in the summer.

All the museums have undergone a Covid refresh, offering a safe and secure experience and as always visitors will receive a warm welcome, say bosses.

The Museums have been awarded a Visit Britain 'We’re Good to Go' safety certificate, which offers confidence of a safe and secure environment.

Curator Steven Skelley gave a live streamed Q&A to launch the virtual tour

An exciting programme has been planned to mark the reopening of the museums and galleries.

Barnsley Archives and Local Studies will open Monday to Wednesday, 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm and it will be a much-anticipated return for the team, volunteers, and wider community. It will operate on a limited basis with an appointment-only service. Documents and other materials will be available to view by pre-order.

The Cooper Gallery will be opening with a never before seen in person display of artwork. ‘The Cooper Prize’ is a collection of pieces selected from the Gallery’s recent art competition. It attracted entries from an outstanding array of artist whose work will be seen as part of the exhibition.

On display in Cannon Hall Museum will be a stunning photographic exhibition ‘Beautiful Barnsley’, which captures stunning locations around the borough and will warm the hearts of those who have visited them.

All the museum gift shops make a welcome return offering a range of high-quality gift ideas.

People visiting are encouraged to adhere to safety measures in place and maintain social distancing in line with government guidance face masks are also advised where possible.

Some areas of the museums and galleries will remain closed, where it is not possible for people to maintain social distancing.

Coun Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place (Regeneration and Culture) said: “It’s the day the museum service has been waiting for, to once again open their doors to visitors old and new.

"The galleries house spectacular collections and displays, all linked to the boroughs rich and fascinating history, and we can wait for people to have the opportunity to explore them once again. After months being closed the team can’t wait to welcome people back and have been working hard to offer a safe, comfortable and relaxing experience guaranteed to raise and smile.”

For more information visit

From Kes to an Elvis jump suit - lots of hidden stories to be discovered at Experience Barnsley