THE National Science and Media Museum is just weeks away from reopening and the group behind it has given an insight into how this will work.

The Science Museum Group (SMG) is responsible for the well-known Bradford-based attraction.

It also runs four other museums - Locomotion in Shildon, the National Railway Museum in York, the Science & Industry Museum in Manchester and the Science Museum in London.

All five are to open across the next three weeks, starting with Locomotion yesterday and ending with the National Science and Media Museum on Wednesday, August 19.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Science Director for the group, Roger Highfield, has been writing a blog series to help educate people about the various facets of the COVID-19 virus - from testing for it, to a look back at the first ever coronavirus in the 1960s.

In his latest, and final blog, he has described the science behind reopening the museums.

Some of the post focuses on general information about the virus (how it spreads, for example) for context.

But the main bulk of the writing hones in on the measures that are being put in place in the group's museums to keep people safe.

The post states in the introduction that the measures "are likely to endure in our museums in one form or another until an effective vaccine is widely available".

One of the main methods of controlling the virus at the five attractions is implementing a ticketing system.

This will not only help the museums manage the number of people and enforce proper social distancing, but it will also allow the group to support the Government's "Test and Trace" programme.

The post states: "We are using timed tickets so will know when visitors have arrived and, because of our understanding of a typical visit time, we can estimate time of departure."

It adds: "Studies show that the serial interval, which is the time between illness onset in successive cases in a transmission chain, can be reduced if track, trace and isolation work well."

Tickets at all the museums are free and booking for the National Science and Media Museum will open from 10am on Wednesday, August 5.

Visitors to the Bradford attraction will be able to add extras, such as a timed entry slot for the Games Lounge, when booking.

But the cinema screens will remain closed for now, as will Life Online, Animation Gallery, BFI Mediatheque, Insight: Collections & Research Centre and Pictureville Bar.

The blog states: "Museum exhibits which involve the mouth or close contact with the face, or prolonged interaction with hard-to-clean areas will be removed from use.

"Other exhibits will have an increased cleaning regime, and additional control measures."

The museums are also strongly recommending visitors wear face coverings and placed emphasis on drying their hands properly when using the attraction's toilets - which will be open.

The blog states: "No hand dryers will be in use; only disposable paper towels.

"Thorough hand drying is as central to preventing spreading infection as thorough hand washing with soap and hot water and one recognised problem with hand dryers is that people may not dry their hands as completely as they would with paper towels."

There will be no temperature checks for customers on entry though.

Mr Highfield says there is not strong evidence this is very effective, particularly given a large proportion of people infected with the virus are free of symptoms.

The blog adds: "Temperature screening may, however, affect behaviour.

"Some argue that it may give a false sense of security, while others cite evidence from earlier outbreaks of Ebola that the ‘theatre’ of temperature screening may give the impression of improved security or even discourage people from visiting if they feel unwell."

The staggered reopening dates for the groups museums is also explained in the blog.

It states that each venue is "very different" and "ultimately, the health and safety of our visitors and staff is our top priority in determining the reopening dates".

The group will continue to produce occasional in-depth blogs to keep people up-to-date with the latest coronavirus science.

The blog states: "As reported by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the UK must prepare for a potential new wave of coronavirus infections this winter that could be more serious than the first."