Harris building front view of building

6 July 2020

The Harris will welcome visitors back to its Grade 1 building on Saturday 11 July as part of a phased reopening.

The ground floor will open first, with the main library offering a book lending and returns service. The shop will also open for purchases and there will be a takeaway café service, both accepting contactless card payments.

The friendly Harris team - whilst social distancing - will guide and direct visitors safely through the ground floor area using a one way system. There will be information and assistance available, and visitors can be reassured that all government guidelines and safety measures will be strictly adhered to.

In this first phase there will be reduced opening hours from 10.30am - 3.30pm with the building closed on Sundays, including this Sunday 12 July.

The public computers will continue to be unavailable for the time being.

Councillor Peter Kelly, Preston City Council Cabinet member for culture and leisure, said,

"We are excited to be welcoming back visitors to the Harris and have been working hard to ensure this is managed safely. The Harris is a multi-functional space, and as the main library in Lancashire, will be the first to open. Smaller local branch libraries will follow as soon as they are confirmed as safe to do so.

"Following this first phased opening of the Harris we will look to open other floors of the building including the museum and art gallery spaces in the coming weeks."

Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council Cabinet member for community and cultural services, added,

"All our other branch libraries across Lancashire will be reopened as soon as they are confirmed it is safe to do so.

"We will provide more information about which libraries and when over the coming weeks."

There is no need to book before visiting and the Harris building is free to enter. However, to maintain social distancing, there may be times visitors will have to queue and so are being asked to limit their visits to 15 minutes. Visitors will not be required to wear a face covering to enter the building, however it would assist in the protection of staff and other visitors.

During this first phase the toilets will not reopen.

Please see the The Harris - list of FAQs to answer any questions you may have before visiting. If you are unable to access the information digitally you can contact the Harris on 01772 258248 (office 10am - 4pm) or email theharris@preston.gov.uk  

Background information

About the Harris

  • Based in Preston, Lancashire, the Harris is one of the leading museums, galleries and libraries in the region. Host to art collections of national significance, exciting activities and events for all ages and an award-winning contemporary art programme, the Harris welcomed over 384,000 visitors in 2018/2019.
  • The city of Preston - located in the heart of Lancashire and the North West and with over 1,000 years of history Preston is a city that has much to offer. For details see Visit Preston
  • The Harris is proud to be an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation. The Harris consists of an art gallery, museum, library and café.
  • The Harris has received development funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund of £180,900, for the Re-Imagining the Harris project, which is an ambitious project supported by key partners including the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal. Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to establish the Harris as the UK's first blended museum, art gallery and library. Having recently celebrated its 125th birthday the Harris aims to be a centre for Preston's cultural and social life, a source of inspiration, pride and creativity for the next 125 years.  #HarrisYourPlace
  • Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people's lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries - from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.