Frequently asked questions about Membership

Member benefits

How do I become a Member?

  • 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 17.30. We try to answer all calls, but at the start and end of major exhibitions our lines can become extremely busy.

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 your Direct Debit at any time.

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 at the discounted rate for your first year of Direct Debit Membership.  We will renew your Membership at the full rate of Membership for subsequent years. You can cancel your Direct Debit at any time.

What should I do if I lose my Membership card?

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 friends@britishmuseum.org.

Our opening hours are Monday to Friday, 09.30 to 17.30. We try to answer all calls, but at the start and end of major exhibitions our lines can become extremely busy.

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 friends@britishmuseum.org, quoting your Membership number, and we will set you up as soon as we can.

Exhibitions

Additional Members-only hours

There is a Members-only late night opening of the BP exhibition Vikings: life and legend on Monday 2 June. This is in addition to the full Members’ evening on Monday 16 June.

On Monday 2 June the exhibition, the Members’ Room and several Museum shops will be open. On Monday 16 June additional galleries will also be open and activities will take place throughout the Museum.

We will email Members more information about the late night opening on Monday 2 June, including exact timings. If you do not currently receive emails from the Membership Office please email us at friends@britishmuseum.org.

Do I need to pay for special exhibitions?

As a Member you do not need to pay for admission to special exhibitions. Members receive free admission and priority access to all special exhibitions.

Do I need to book tickets for special exhibitions?

Members do not need to book in advance for the Museum’s special exhibitions. Go to the exhibition entrance and use your Membership card at the fast-track machine or show the staff member in attendance to gain admission.

Our special exhibitions can be exceptionally popular. During peak times when large numbers of Members are visiting the exhibition (such as lunchtimes and weekends), we may ask Members to collect a timed ticket to gain entry. 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?

Yes, Membership is valid from the moment you buy it. If you have joined onsite, you will be given a temporary Membership card which can be used for immediate entry into the special exhibitions. If you have 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. 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. If you have joined online by credit or debit card, you will be able to collect a temporary card from the Membership and Ticket Desk when you arrive at the British Museum.

Can I bring a guest to the special exhibition? Can I bring a child?

You can bring a guest of any age if you have bought a guest facility on your Membership. You are also able to bring children under 16 free of charge to the exhibition. 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 at http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions.aspx

We may sell out of advance tickets. We offer up to 500 walk-up tickets each day; for busy exhibitions we advise you come early to ensure you are able to pick one up.

Please check for further information on ticket availability at http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions.aspx

Please note that Young Friends membership does not give priority access to exhibitions for members.

Events

Are there any special events for Members?

There are a variety of events each year including Members’ evenings, where you can explore the Museum after hours and take advantage of free lectures, performances and object handling sessions. We also offer regular Members’ lectures and a Members’ party, where you can take part in a variety of activities or simply enjoy some drinks with friends.

There is also a lecture programme designed exclusively for Members. Hear experts talk about fascinating topics and gain a deeper understanding of the work of the British Museum. Additional event fee applies. Subject to availability.

Information about these events will be sent to you in advance, as you will receive your annual events programme in February or on joining with further information in advance of the event by letter and email.

How do I book for lectures and events?

You can book for Members’ lectures by calling the Membership office. Unfortunately we cannot book Museum events; these must be booked by calling the information and ticketing desk, or online at http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/events_calendar.aspx. Please note that a booking fee applies.

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 therefore guarantee that places have been reserved for you.

If you join as a Member on the day of a Members’ lecture and wish to immediately book online for that event, please contact the Membership Team on +44 (0)20 7323 8195 so they can assist you with your booking if there are still places left. The Membership team will then set up your online account for any future bookings you wish to make.

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.

How do I find out about special offers?

Sign up for the monthly Members’ enewsletter and receive regular offers exclusively for Members. Contact friends@britishmuseum.org and request to receive these emails. Also check the online information for current Members.

At the Museum

Where is the 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 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 10am to 5.20pm, with last food orders taken at 5pm.

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.

Is there Wifi in the Members’ Room?

Yes. The Membership Services Assistant will be able to give you the details.

Can I bring guests to the Members’ Room? What about children?

You can bring a guest if you have purchased a guest facility for your membership. You can bring up to four children under the age of 16 into the room.

Using your membership

Can I lend my Membership card to my partner or a friend?

Only the named Member may use their Membership card. However, you can share your enjoyment with a friend or family member living at the same address by upgrading to Joint Membership for just £22. To add an additional card to your Membership telephone the Membership Office on 020 7323 8195 or email friends@britishmuseum.org

Can I bring a guest?

You can bring as many people as your membership allows. If you have opted to purchase a guest card, you can bring a guest (your card will state ‘admits 2’. If you have joint membership, both you and the additional cardholder can opt to bring a guest.

As a Member, how do I find out about forthcoming Museum exhibitions and events?

Every two months you will receive a What’s on guide to keep you up-to-date with Museum events and exhibitions as well as three editions a year of the British Museum Magazine, full of interesting articles on the permanent collection and forthcoming exhibitions.