Frequently asked questions about membership
If the answer to your question cannot be found in our FAQs please email the Membership department at email@example.com and we will respond within three working days.
- Join online by credit or debit card, or by setting up an annual Direct Debit
- Visit the Ticket or Information Desk in the Great Court or any of the British Museum shops
- Telephone the Membership Office on 020 7323 8195. Our opening hours are Monday to Friday, 09.30 to 17.00. We try to answer all calls, but at the start and end of major exhibitions our lines can become extremely busy.
Can I give Membership as a Christmas Gift?
Gift Membership for Christmas can be purchased online, onsite at the Museum or over the phone by calling the Membership team on 0207 323 8195.
Please note that all Gift Memberships purchased after 1 November 2015 will be treated as Gift Membership unless otherwise requested.
If you purchase your Membership onsite you will be able to collect a Welcome Pack and temporary card when you sign up. For purchases made online or by telephone the Welcome Pack will be dispatched to your requested delivery address in December.
When is the last order date for guaranteed Christmas delivery?
For guaranteed UK delivery of Membership in time for Christmas, please place your Gift Membership order by midnight on Tuesday 15 December. Please note that if you order after this date Membership packs can be collected by donors or recipients from the Membership desk at any time during the Museum opening hours. Welcome packs collected onsite include temporary Membership cards. Permanent Membership cards will then be dispatched by post in January.
For queries regarding international deliveries please contact the Membership Office.
When will Gift Memberships become active?
All Christmas Gift Memberships will be active from 27 December 2015 until 31 December 2016.
If you have any further questions about Christmas Gift Memberships please call the Membership team on 0207 323 8195. Please note that call volumes may be higher than usual during the Christmas period. If no staff member is available when you call please leave a message and we will endeavour to return your call within one working day.
Can the Gift Pack delivered in an unbranded envelope?
We are unable to deliver Gift Packs in unbranded envelopes. Packs will arrive in an A5 envelope with the British Museum logo in the bottom right-hand corner. If you do not want the Gift recipient to see this before Christmas we are happy to arrange to send the pack to an address of your choice which you can then give to the recipient.
Can I have a Christmas gift box delivered?
Gift boxes are exclusively available onsite and we will not be able to post these out.
How do I renew my membership?
If you pay by Direct Debit we will renew your membership automatically and send you a new Membership card at least 14 days before the debit is due on your account. We will renew your Membership at the full rate of Membership. You can cancel future Direct Debit payments at any time. An additional administration fee will apply for new Memberships if the cancellation is made prior to payment collection.
You will receive a letter to remind you when it is time to renew. You can renew online or by phone or post. If you currently pay by cheque, credit or debit card or cash, you can renew by Direct Debit and save on the full rate of Membership, and it will be renewed each year at a discounted rate.
How do I upgrade my membership?
If you would like to share your membership
with a friend, family member or partner, you can do so by adding an
upgrade. You can add a guest for £25 or upgrade to a joint
membership for just £22. Members who include a guest facility will
receive one card, which reads ‘Admits 2’. Joint Members receive one
card each, which reads ‘Admits 1’.
If you have a joint membership and wish to add a guest facility this must be added to the primary cardholder’s membership in the first instance. Please note that unfortunately we are unable to change the primary cardholder during the membership period, and changes of this nature can only be made upon renewal. Secondary cardholders are able to add a guest facility once the primary Member has done so.
Please note that upgrades will run alongside the existing membership year and expire in line with that membership.
Please bring your membership card to gain free entry to exhibitions. To order a replacement card please telephone the Membership Office on 020 7323 8195 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.Please note that replacement cards can take up to 10 working days to arrive, but Members are welcome to collect temporary cards from the Membership Desk in the Great Court during this time.
Members are not required to book tickets for special exhibitions, and are able to enter free of charge by presenting their membership card at the exhibition entrance. However, occasionally at peak times, when large numbers of Members are visiting an exhibition (such as opening and closing weekends), we may ask Members to collect a ticket to gain entry at a later time on the same day.
The timed ticketing system aims to ensure your experience of the exhibition is not compromised by over-crowding. In addition to guaranteeing the safety of all visitors, we also want to make sure you are not asked to wait in a queue for an excessive period of time.
I have just joined as a Member and want to visit the special exhibition today. Is the membership valid straight away?
Membership is valid from the moment you buy it, and you are able to use it straight away.
If you joined on site you will have been given a temporary membership card which can be used for immediate entry into the special exhibitions. If you joined online by credit or debit card, you will receive a confirmation email, which you can present at the Membership desk in the Great Court to receive a temporary card.
If you joined online by setting up a Direct Debit, you will receive a confirmation email of the Direct Debit Instruction, which you can print off and use as proof of membership. Please note that Direct Debit payments are not taken on the day you join, but are scheduled ahead of time to allow us to set up the instruction with your bank. However, you are still very welcome to use your membership from the day you sign up.
Can I bring a child to special exhibitions?
You are able to bring children under-16 free of charge to all special exhibitions. However, even if you, as the accompanying adult, are a Member, free timed tickets must be booked in advance (or collected on the day as a free walk-up ticket) for any children you wish to take to the exhibition with you. You can do this online.
Please note, advance tickets are not available online less than 24 hours ahead of the booking date, and we may sell out of advance tickets. We offer up to 500 walk-up tickets each day; for busy exhibitions we advise you to come early to ensure you are able to pick one up.
Check for further information on ticket availability
Please note that Young Friends membership does not give priority access to exhibitions for members.
There are a variety of Members’ events throughout the year where you can discover more about the collection. From special evenings to lectures by Museum curators and leading experts, our Members’ events offer a unique after-hours experience.
Additional event fees may apply and event tickets are subject to availability.
Information about these events will be sent to you in regular mailings and in the monthly Members’ e-newsletter. Please ensure we have your up-to-date contact details so that you do not miss these updates.
How do I book for lectures and events?
You can book for Members’ lectures online or by calling the Membership office. Unfortunately we cannot book general Museum public programme events; these must be booked by calling the information and ticketing desk on 0207 323 8181, or online.
Please be aware that if you leave your booking details in a voicemail or email for the Membership Team, this may not be responded to immediately and does not guarantee that places have been reserved for you.
Do Members get special rates to events?
Members receive the concession price to all paid lectures, films and performances at the Museum, unless specifically stated. This discount does not apply to Members’ exclusive events.
Members’ Room and Members’ cloakroom
Members have a cloakroom for their use next to the Montague Place entrance. It is free to deposit any item (Maximum size: 40x40x50cm, Maximum weight: 8kg). Please be aware that any items deposited at the main Museum cloakroom will be subject to the full fee.
Where is the Members’ Room?
The Members’ Room can be accessed through the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery (Room 4) and up the West Stairs to Level 1. The room is wheelchair-accessible from the lift at the bottom of the West Stairs.
What are the Members’ Room opening hours?
The Members’ Room is open from 10:00 to 17.20, with last food orders taken at 17:00. On Fridays the Members’ Room is open until 20:20, with last food orders at 20:00.
Is food and drink available in the Members’ Room?
Yes, there is a selection of hot and cold light lunches, tea, coffee, and cakes, as well as wine, beer and soft drinks.
Can I bring guests to the Members’ Room?
As a Member, how do I find out about forthcoming Museum exhibitions and events?
We send out regular mailings to Members with details of upcoming events, exhibitions and special offers. We also have a monthly Members’ e-newsletter. To receive these updates, please ensure we have your email address by contacting the Membership Office on 020 7323 8195 or email email@example.com
Special Member offers
Do Members get special discounts in the shops and cafés?
Members receive a 10% discount in all the Museum cafés and shops, including the online shop. You must register with an online account to receive your Members’ discount on online purchases. If you have not already registered, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting your Membership number, and we will set you up as soon as we can.
How do I find out about special offers?
Sign up for the monthly Members’ enewsletter
and receive regular offers exclusively for Members. Contact
request to receive these emails.
If you have not found an answer to your question, please feel free to contact the Membership department on 020 7323 8195 or by email at email@example.com