Frequently asked questions about Membership

If the answer to your question cannot be found in our FAQs please email the Membership department at friends@britishmuseum.org and we will aim to respond within five working days.

Joining, renewing and upgrading Membership

Lost and replacement cards

Exhibitions

Members’ events

Members’ Room and Members’ cloakroom

Using your Membership

Special Member offers

How do I become a Member?

  • You can join online by credit or debit card, or by setting up a recurring annual payment via Direct Debit
  • You can visit the Membership Desk in the Great Court or any of the British Museum shops
  • You can also telephone the Membership Office on 020 7323 8195. Our opening hours are 09.30 to 17.30 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and Tuesday from 10.30 to 17.30. We try to answer all calls, but at the start and end of major exhibitions our lines can become extremely busy.

I have just joined as a Member and want to visit the special exhibition today. Is the Membership valid right away?

Your Membership is valid from the moment you join, and you can use it right away. If you joined on-site you will receive a temporary Membership card that can be used for immediate entry into the special exhibitions. If you joined online by credit or debit card, please bring your confirmation email and some form of identification to the Membership Desk in the Great Court to receive your temporary card.

If you joined online by setting up a recurring annual payment via Direct Debit, please bring your confirmation email of the Direct Debit Instruction and identification to the Membership Desk to receive your temporary card.

How do I renew my Membership?

If you signed up for a recurring annual payment via Direct Debit when you joined, 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. 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.

If you did not sign up for a recurring Membership you will receive a letter to remind you when it is time to renew. You can renew online or by phone or post and can change to an annually recurring payment via a Direct Debit to renew your Membership at a discounted rate.

How do I upgrade my Membership?

If you would like to share your Membership with someone else, you can do so by upgrading your Membership. You can add a Guest Facility for £30 or add an additional card holder (who must live at the same address as you) for just £24. Members who have a Guest Facility will receive one card, which reads ‘Admits 2’. Individual Members with an additional card holder will each receive one card, which reads ‘Admits 1’ and these can only be used by the named individuals.

If you have an individual Membership with an additional card holder, and wish to add a Guest Facility, this must be added to the primary cardholder’s Membership in the first instance. A second Guest Facility may then be added to the additional card thereafter. Please note that it is not possible to change the primary cardholder during the Membership period, and changes of this nature can only be made upon renewal.

Please note that upgrades will run alongside the existing Membership year and expire in line with that Membership.

What should I do if I lose my Membership card?

If you lose your card, you can order a replacement card by telephoning the Membership Office on 020 7323 8195 or emailing us at friends@britishmuseum.org. Please note that replacement cards can take up to 10 working days to be dispatched, but you are welcome to collect temporary cards from the Membership Desk in the Great Court at any time.

Do I need to book tickets for special exhibitions?

You are not required to book tickets for special exhibitions, and are able to enter free of charge by presenting your Membership card at the exhibition entrance. Please note that at peak times, when large numbers of Members are visiting an exhibition (such as the opening and closing weekends), we may ask you to collect a timed ticket to gain entry at a later time on the same day. Our timed ticketing system aims to ensure your experience of the exhibition is not compromised by over-crowding.

For popular exhibitions, we have a guaranteed entry list for Members in order to ensure that you are able to see the exhibitions on your chosen day at a time that is convenient for you. If you would like to be added to the guaranteed entry list for exhibitions, please call the Membership Office on 020 7323 8195 or email us at friends@britishmuseum.org.

Can I bring a child to special exhibitions?

You can bring a maximum of four children under the age of 16 to all special exhibitions. If you are bringing more than four children under the age of 16 to exhibitions, please call us on 020 7323 8195 or email us at friends@britishmuseum.org to arrange your visit.

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

Are there any special events for Members?

As a Member, you have access to an exclusive and extensive programme of events. 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. You can find details of our current events here. Please note that 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. To receive these updates, please ensure we have your email address and permission by contacting the Membership Office on 020 7323 8195 or email friends@britishmuseum.org.

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 ticketing line on 020 7323 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.

As a Member, do I get special rates to public events?

Members receive the concession price to all paid lectures, films and performances in the music’s public events programme, unless specifically stated. This discount does not apply to Members’ exclusive events.

Members’ Room and Members’ cloakroom

Where is the Members’ cloakroom?

As a Member, you can access the Members’ cloakroom next to the Montague Place entrance. It is free to deposit up to two items, i.e. one coat and a bag. Please note that the Museum does not permit any wheeled items of luggage on site or folding bikes inside the building. For the latest updates please check the facilities page on the main website.

Please be aware that any items deposited at the main Museum cloakroom, located at the Great Russell Street entrance, will be subject to the full fee for depositing items there and you will not be able to be claim a refund.

Please note that all Museum cloakrooms are operated by British Museum staff. Any items left without the assistance of British Museum staff will be removed and are likely to be destroyed.

Where is the Members’ Room?

You can access the Members’ Room 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 17.30, with last food orders taken at 17:00. On Fridays the Members’ Room is open until 20:30, with last food orders at 20:00.

Is food and drink available in the Members’ Room?

There is a selection of hot and cold light lunches, tea, coffee, and cakes, as well as wine, beer and soft drinks. Bringing in your own food to the Members’ room is not permitted unless you have special dietary needs that the café cannot cater for and/or if it is baby food.

Can I bring guests to the Members’ Room?

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 bring up to a maximum of four children under the age of 16 into 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 and permission by contacting the Membership Office on 020 7323 8195 or email friends@britishmuseum.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. Please note that the 10% discount excludes alcoholic beverages.

How can I pass on my feedback/discuss any concerns I have about my Membership or regarding another aspect of the Museum?

Please do contact us with any feedback you may have or if you have not been able to find an answer to your question. If anything about your Membership is below your expectation, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can better understand your concerns and respond accordingly.

The Membership Office can be contacted on 020 7323 8195 or by email at friends@britishmuseum.org. If you have any comments or concerns about another aspect of the Museum’s work, please do not hesitate to contact the Membership Office using the above details and we will be happy to forward your feedback on or alternatively put you in contact with the correct department to resolve any problems you may have.

If you like to find out more about the Museum’s enquiries and feedback handling procedure, please visit the Museum's governance page