Frequently asked questions about Membership

 If the answer to your question cannot be found in our FAQs please email us at friends@britishmuseum.org and we will respond when the department reopens.

The Museum galleries are open from 10.00 to 17.30 across the bank holiday weekend. There is no need to pre–book a ticket for Ancient Lives: new discoveries during this period but Members may be asked to collect a timed ticket on arrival at the exhibition during exceptionally busy times.

Joining and Renewing Membership

Lost and replacement cards

Exhibitions

Members’ events

Members’ Room and Members’ cloakroom

Using your Membership

Special Member offers

Christmas at the British Museum

Joining and Renewing Membership

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 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.

Lost and replacement cards

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.

Exhibitions

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?

Our special exhibitions can be exceptionally popular. During peak times, when large numbers of Members are visiting these exhibition (such as lunchtimes and 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?

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. If your Membership includes a guest, it will say ‘Admits 2’ on your card and you can bring a friend to exhibitions, Members’ events and the Members’ Room. You can add a guest for £25 or upgrade to a joint Membership for just £22.

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.

Please note, 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.

Check for further information on ticket availability 

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

Member's 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 through the Members’ events calendar (mailed three times per year) and the monthly Members’ e-newsletter. Please ensure we have your up-to-date contact details to ensure you don’t miss out on these updates.

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.

Further information 

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.

Members’ Room and Members’ cloakroom

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 (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.

Is there Wifi in the Members’ Room?

Yes. Please ask the staff member at the front desk for 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. If your Membership includes a guest, it will say ‘Admits 2’ on your card. You can add a guest for £25 or upgrade to a joint Membership for just £22.

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. Membership cards should not be passed on to third parties for use and may be de-activated, if abuse of the card is suspected. You can share your enjoyment with a friend or family member by upgrading to a joint Membership for just £22 or add a guest for £25. Contact 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 facility, 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?

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 friends@britishmusem.org

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 friends@britishmuseum.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 friends@britishmuseum.org and request to receive these emails. Also check the online information for current Members.

Christmas at the British Museum

Gift Membership

If you're looking for the perfect last-minute Christmas Gift, you can still purchase British Museum Gift Membership.

For all online orders, you will receive a receipt email and either you or your recipient will be able to collect a temporary card and full welcome pack from the Membership Desk at the Museum (please note, the Museum is closed 24–26 December inclusive and on 1 January 2015). Alternatively, you can call us on the number below before midday on Tuesday 23 December and upon completion of your purchase we can email you a personalised gift certificate. Permanent Membership cards will then be dispatched in January.

All Christmas Gift Memberships will be active from 26 December 2014 until 31 December 2015.

Gift Membership for Christmas can be purchased online or over the phone by calling the Membership team on +44(0)20 7323 8195

If you have any questions about Christmas Gift Memberships please call the Membership team on +44(0)20 7323 8195 (please see below for office opening hours over Christmas). Please note, call volumes can be high during the Christmas period. If no staff member is available when you call, please leave a voicemail and we will endeavour to return your call on the same day.

Membership Office Opening Hours

Monday 22 December 9.30-17.30
Tuesday 23 December 9.30-17.30
Wednesday 24 December CLOSED
Thursday 25 December CLOSED
Friday 26 December CLOSED
Saturday 27 December CLOSED (The Museum is open)
Sunday 28 December CLOSED (The Museum is open)
Monday 29 December 9.30-17.30
Tuesday 30 December 9.30-17.30
Wednesday 31 December 9.30-17.30
Thursday 1 January CLOSED
Friday 2 January 9.30-17.30

Please note that the Museum is closed from 24 to 26 December inclusive and on 1 January 2015.