As most of you will know, the Firing Line Museum closed to the public on 18th March 2020 as a direct result of the COVID 19 Pandemic. A whole year has passed and we have not yet been able to reopen so we thought our visitors may like an insight into the work that has been taking place behind the scenes.
One of the biggest priorities for the museum team has been to assess how visitors will be able to enjoy the museum in the future, and create a safe environment for our staff, volunteers and visitors.
When we eventually reopen, visitors will take a new route around the museum and measures have been implemented to ensure that social distancing can take place in the museum. PPE Masks will need to be worn in the museum, and we also now have hand sanitizers at the entry and exit points of the museum. Numbers of visitors will be restricted in the museum to ensure that visitors have plenty of time to look around the museum safely. We were able to test this new system out in August 2020, when we were able to host a socially distanced event for the Welsh Veteran Award Nominations.
There are key events every year that the Firing Line Museum likes to participate in. Two notable examples of these are Armed Forces Day and Armistice. Regardless of closure, we remain committed to commemorating and recognising the contribution of our Armed Forces and we made sure that we raised the Armed Forces Day Flag again this year. Unfortunately the Field of Remembrance was also cancelled this year as a result of the continuing pandemic and lockdowns in Wales. However, this year we created a small area of remembrance next to The Abandoned Soldier statue on the battlement walk. We stopped for a two minute silence, laid wreaths on the statue and played an audio version of The Last Post.
It was particularly poignant this year to think about the contributions of Armed Forces Personnel to the pandemic and the National Health Service. Our Museum Supervisor, a Reservist with 3 Royal Welsh assisted in the cleaning of ambulances during the pandemic. We are very proud of him, our Armed Forces and the NHS who have all shown great resilience in spite of this difficult period.
Much of the work taking place behind the scenes has been to obtain external funding to keep the museum as stable as possible. This has been essential as we have not been able to generate income as we would ordinarily have been able to do so. This has been so vital to the stability of the organisation and we would like to thank The Federation of Museums and Galleries of Wales, Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and The Welsh Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, who have all provided us with financial assistance over this last year for which we are eternally grateful for.
As to the future, we are looking forward to welcoming visitors back as soon as possible….it has been a long year without you! We are also developing digital resources and online exhibitions that will enable people to gain greater access to the Firing Line and its collections. We are working on reinterpretation projects so that when our visitors eventually do come back there will be even more to see and do.
In the meantime, we are still here to deal with any enquiries that you have so please do contact us if you need assistance. We are here and happy to help.