Last week the government announced that museums can open again on 4 July; but there is a long way to go before Charleston can reopen, and significant funds still to raise.
The intimate experience of exploring the house’s interiors is something visitors normally cherish; but small, heavily furnished rooms make it impossible to create a socially distanced experience that would be safe and enjoyable for our staff, volunteers, and visitors. We have explored all other options, including just opening our galleries, café and shop, but with significantly reduced visitor numbers we simply cannot afford to reopen this year.
Charleston has survived this crisis thanks to thousands of donations from around the world to our Emergency Appeal, grants from Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, everyone who donated their Charleston Festival Tickets, and the extraordinary endeavours of artist Emily Maude who has raised over £55,000 through an artists’ auction on Instagram. The decision to remain closed has not been an easy one, but will enable us to build a stronger, more beautiful, more resilient, and more sustainable Charleston for the future.
While our doors are closed, we will continue to share Charleston’s house, garden and collections with our audiences digitally, and our online shop will remain open. Following the success of Charleston Festival at Home, we will deliver more digital programmes including a weekend of talks and events to mark Small Wonder Festival, 25-27 September 2020. We are also working to open our beautiful garden in July as a place of creativity and wellbeing. We will share the full details shortly so please keep an eye on our social feeds, website, and e-newsletter.
Thank you for your continued support and patience as we continue to navigate these challenging times.
Director and Chief Executive, The Charleston Trust