Bankfield Museum reopens with a Grand Tour of Europe

Bankfield Museum is opening on Tuesday 27 October with a new exhibition, ‘The Grand Tour’ – taking visitors on a tour of Europe through some incredible paintings and stories. 

The Halifax-based museum has been closed since March due to COVID-19 restrictions. As nearby Shibden Hall closes for its annual winter break from Monday 19 October, Bankfield will reopen to allow visitors access to Calderdale’s museum collections. 

The launch of the Grand Tour exhibition will celebrate the museum’s reopening, and  showcases a wide selection of paintings in the Council’s museum service collections, including works by Samuel Prout, John Ruskin and Albert Goodwin.

 The works on display are based around the theme of the Grand Tour – a period of foreign travel undertaken by the British upper classes between 1660 and 1840, as part of their education. European travel was also popular with artists, who left Britain to study new techniques and set out in search of places to paint to sell to those at home unable to travel.

 Visitors to Bankfield can also see the Photographic Memories exhibition, including photographs of the region by Fay Godwin and Martin Parr. There is also The Fashion Gallery, currently with costumes from Sally Wainwright’s Brontë drama ‘To Walk Invisible’ and the dress Charlotte Brontë wore in 1850 to meet William Makepeace Thackeray, on loan from the Brontë Parsonage. 

Entrance will still be free but visitors must book a timed entry slot in advance at If able to do so, visitors are encouraged to make a financial donation to support the work of the museum. 

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn, said: 

“I’m pleased that we’re now able to welcome visitors back to Bankfield Museum. The opening of the museum has been scheduled alongside the winter closure of Shibden Hall, to ensure we can continue to showcase our wonderful and diverse collections and share our fascinating local history with our residents and visitors. 

“Our curators have put together a new exhibition for the museum’s reopening, taking visitors on a Grand Tour of Europe. Few of us have been able to travel abroad this year, but our exhibition will bring a flavour of the continent to Halifax and give visitors a glimpse of what European travel was like through the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. 

“It’s essential that visitors pre-book. Admission is strictly for advance bookings only to ensure we can manage visitor numbers safely.” 

A number of safety measures will be in place for visitors and timing of visits will be strictly adhered to for everyone’s safety. Hand sanitiser will be supplied at various points, but it’s also recommended that visitors bring their own supplies. Enhanced cleaning will also take place around the site throughout the day in line with government guidance.


To help keep everyone safe, it’s important that visitors follow social distancing and government guidance. Visitors must also wear a face covering.


If anyone is showing symptoms of coronavirus or has been in contact with anyone with the virus within the last 14 days, they should not visit.

For more information about Calderdale Museums, visit

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