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Frequently asked questions

The information in these FAQs answers the most common questions asked by school staff when organising a trip to visit Verulamium Museum. If you require further information please contact the Bookings Officer on museumbookings@stalbans.gov.uk or 01727 751814.
[This information is correct as of September 2017.]

Q1: What do you offer at Verulamium museum for schools?
Q2: Do you have activity sheets for the children?
Q3: How much does everything cost?
Q4: What else is there to do nearby?
Q5: Where can the children have lunch?
Q6: How do I make a booking?
Q7: What are the timings of sessions at the museum?
Q8: Can we just visit the museum and not have a learning session?
Q9: What size group can I bring?
Q10: How many adults do we need to bring to supervise my pupils?
Q11: When and how do we pay?
Q12: Are there cancellation fees?
Q13: Can I visit in advance to plan my trip?
Q14: Do you have any information to help with my trip risk assessment?
Q15: What do I need to bring for my class trip and what do I need to do when I arrive at the museum?
Q16: What if we arrive late or need to leave early?
Q17: Where is/how much is coach parking?
Q18: Where are the toilets?
Q19: Is the museum accessible?
Q20: Are there environmental considerations we may need to be aware of?
Q21: What if the weather is cold/wet/hot?
Q22: Is there a Gift Shop and can we can pre-order goody bags?
Q23: Does the museum provide First Aid?
Q24: What if someone has allergies?
Q25: How can I give you my feedback?


Q1: What do you offer at Verulamium museum for schools?
Throughout the year we offer self-guided 1 hour slots in the museum gallery with its displays and activities. 
During term time we offer two types of 1 hour learning session:
* Market Day is particularly enjoyed by younger children
* whilst Artefact Handling is more suitable for KS2 and KS3 pupils.  
As there is an amount of overlap in content for the learning sessions we recommend you choose one session type for your visit:Artefact Handling sessions run Monday to Friday whilst Market Day sessions run on Mondays and Thursdays for multiple class groups, and on Wednesdays for single classes. 

For a typical visit, a class books an hour long gallery slot and one learning session, leaving the rest of the day free to lunch and explore the other Roman features found nearby.  When you contact us we will suggest a schedule based on the number of children you wish to bring and our availability.


Q2: Do you have activity sheets for the children?
Our activity sheets for a "self-guided tour" can be downloaded for KS2 and KS3.  They are designed for use in the museum gallery and to help you explore the Roman features in the surrounding area. 


Q3: How much does everything cost?
Entry to the museum, which includes an hour of self-guided time in the museum gallery, costs £2.50 per person.  This applies to all attending adults and children with the exception of those visiting as 1:1 carers, who are entitled to free entry.

Schools in St Albans and District (AL1 to AL5 postcode) are entitled to free entry to the museum gallery.

All schools pay for learning sessions.  Each learning session (1 hour duration) costs £80 per class of up to 32 children plus a minimum of 3 accompanying adults.

The museum lunch room costs £10 per hour and is bookable on a first come first served basis.  Please note this charge is not refundable even if the room is not used e.g. due to good weather.  Alternative locations nearby will be suggested if our lunch room is already booked by other schools.


Q4: What else is there to do nearby?

The museum is on the edge of Verulamium Park under which lies the remains of the Roman town.  In the park, about 10 minutes’ walk from the museum, are ruins of the Roman town walls and London Gate.  In the park, about 5 minutes walk from the museum, there is also the Hypocaust (in-situ mosaic floor with heating system housed in its own modern building).  This is usually open to the public from 10am with free entry and closes at 3:45pm in the winter, 4:30pm in the summer.  Please check with our Front Desk staff on the day of your visit to confirm the Hypocaust opening times. 

These Roman features can be accessed via tarmac / gravel paths which include some inclines.  The park also has play areas and fields where children can picnic in good weather (please note there are no covered picnic areas).

Less than 5 minutes walk from the museum, using a pedestrian traffic light controlled road crossing, are the remains of the Roman Theatre.  This is run by the Gorhambury Estate who can be contacted directly on 01727 835035 should you wish to book to visit.  Please note there is a small entry fee and joint tickets are not available for groups.
St Albans Cathedral also welcomes school visits and is about 20 minutes walk through the park and up hill towards the town centre. 
 

Q5: Where can the children have lunch?
The museum has a lunch room with benches/chairs and tables where children and adults can eat food you have brought with you.  The lunch room has a maximum capacity of 35 persons (e.g. 30 children and 5 adults). 

The lunch room must be booked in advance.  It can be booked in 1 hour slots and costs £10 per hour.  For larger groups we will suggest a schedule where the lunch room is used in 30 minute shifts in rotation with visiting areas outside of the museum, e.g. the Hypocaust.  The lunch room is located in the basement beyond the toilets and cloakroom.  There is lift access and the lunch room door is 720mm wide.  Bins and brooms are provided and we appreciate schools leaving the area tidy.

If the museum lunch room is unavailable, immediately opposite the museum (crossing an access road) is St Michaels Parish Hall whose rooms can be hired by prior arrangement.  They can be contacted on 01727 836 041 or hallbooking17@gmail.com (office hours are usually Tuesday to Thursday mornings).  Please note they will require a deposit and booking in advance, and do not have level access, e.g. for wheelchair users.

If your group would like to eat outside there are picnic tables near the front of the museum for use by the public and there are several green spaces in the adjacent Verulamium Park.  Please note there are no covered areas outside.

 
Q6: How do I make a booking?
Please email museumbookings@stalbans.gov.uk or phone 01727 751 814.  The more information you can provide in advance, the quicker we can make the booking process for you.  Please tell us:
* the year group and number of children visiting
* the number of adults visiting (please see our supervisory ratios)
* your preferred learning session type
* your preferred visit dates and/or days of the week
* if you would like to book the lunch room (subject to availability)
* full school address with contact phone number
* if your group includes anyone with any particular requirements e.g. wheelchair user, learning needs
* an email address for your finance contact (to arrange payment)

We will then find the best match currently available and email you a suggested schedule.

When we have agreed a schedule and have all the information we need, we will email you a pre-populated Booking Form.  Your booking remains provisional until you check, sign and return the Booking Form; please return this within a maximum of 2 weeks.  The Booking Form shows the timings of your proposed trip, the cost breakdown including our VAT number and other important information.  It is also the pro-forma invoice your Finance person needs to generate payment.

When we receive your signed booking form we will email you a Confirmation Form (which is similar to the Booking Form but includes useful maps), to confirm your visit is booked.

Lots of relevant information is included with the Booking and Confirmation Forms and emails so please ensure these are passed onto the Lead Teacher to help them plan their visit.
 

Q7: What are the timings of sessions at the museum?
Each session is scheduled to be 1 hour long.  Artefact Handling learning session start on the hour, e.g. 10am - 11am.  Market Day learning sessions start on the half hour, e.g. 10:30am - 11:30am.  The slots for learning and gallery sessions begin from 10am and finish by 3pm.  

As we are such a popular and busy venue it is important you keep to your allotted schedule.  This is to ensure the gallery does not become overcrowded and everybody can enjoy their full time slot for their booked sessions.


Q8: Can we just visit the museum and not have a learning session?
On Tuesdays, Fridays and some Wednesdays you are welcome to book to explore the displays in our museum gallery, without also attending a learning session.  We are sorry but it is not normally possible to visit for only a learning session.


Q9: What size group can I bring?

The maximum class size is 32 children per learning or gallery session.  If you wish to bring two classes, our suggested schedule will usually have one class in a learning session whilst the other enjoys the gallery, then they swap so at the end of a two hour period both classes will have experienced a learning session and gallery time. 

For larger groups the suggested schedule will involve time outside the museum as part of a 3 or 4 group rotation.  Our maximum capacity is 128 children on any one visit date, subject to availability.


Q10: How many adults do we need to bring to supervise my pupils?
To ensure your pupils have a safe and enjoyable visit we ask you to follow as a minimum the supervisory adult/child ratios of:
* 2-3 years old 1 adult : 4 children
* 4-8 years 1:6
* 9 – 12 years 1:10    
* 13-18 years 1:15
1:1 carers have free entry to the museum. Adminssion charges >.

Whilst our teachers will lead the learning session, we ask you to provide at least 3 adults to support your pupils whilst in the sessions to maximise their learning.  
 

Q11: When and how do we pay?
We ask you to pay on the day of your visit so the total amount reflects the actual number of attendees as we appreciate this may change on the day due to sickness etc.

The Booking/Confirmation Forms show the cost/VAT breakdown, the museum address and VAT number, hence serves as the pro-forma invoice your Finance person will need to raise payment.  We will not issue a separate invoice.

We accept payment by cash, debit/credit cards or by cheque.  Please make cheques payable to St Albans District Council.  If you have a pre-written cheque and there is a different number of attendees on the day, we aim to deal with any differences in cash.  If you wish to make payment by card, please pay at the Reception Desk upon arrival. Alternatively a representative from your school can phone the Reception Desk 01727 751 810 after 11am on the day of your visit.
We are sorry but payment cannot currently be made by BACS.
Once payment has been made you will be given a till receipt showing the breakdown of the cost including VAT for you to keep for your records.
 

Q12: Are there cancellation fees?
Once we have received your signed booking form, cancellation fees may apply. Cancellation fees are:
* more than 4 weeks before your visit:  no cost
* between 2 and 4 weeks before your visit: 50% of the cost
* less than 2 weeks before your visit:  100% of the cost
  

Q13: Can I visit in advance to plan my trip?
If you have not visited the museum before we strongly recommend you do so to carry out your own pre-visit to learn about our site.  Our staff will endeavour to answer any questions you may have about your trip.  You do not need to let us know you are coming, but please bring your Confirmation Form as you can use this for up to 2 adults to have free entry to the museum.
 

Q14: Do you have any information to help with my trip risk assessment?
We have risk assessment paperwork, including an OV6 Providers form, available on our website which we suggest you download to supplement your own risk assessments.


Q15: What do I need to bring for my class trip and what do I need to do when I arrive at the museum?
Please bring your payment, lunches if appropriate, a First Aid kit and any specific medical items your children may need, e.g. epipen.  We can provide pencils and clipboards for use in the museum.

Our museum staff will greet you and will work with you to help your pupils follow your schedule for the day.  They will take your payment, answer any queries and throughout your visit direct you where to go next.

To help us:
* we strongly recommend you arrive up to 15 minutes early for the children to access the cloakroom and toilets so they are ready to start their sessions promptly.  For those with a 10am start, the museum allows access from 9:45am for this purpose.
* please let your pupils know they will be given a briefing before they enter the gallery and it is important they listen.  The briefing is about actions in the event of a fire alarm and behaviour in the museum.
* please be aware your pupils will need to split into 4 groups ready for their learning session.


Q16: What if we arrive late or need to leave early?
If traffic delays mean your group arrives late we will endeavour to compress timings of your learning sessions and gallery time.  We are sorry but we cannot over run your booked slots due to the capacity of our programme.  If you have a 3pm finish time and have booked two or more sessions, we may be able to liaise with our teachers to shorten each session slightly so you can leave a little earlier (the session cost will remain the same).
If you are running late please let us know by calling 01727 751 814 or 01727 751 810.


Q17: Where is/how much is coach parking?
There is a NCP car park immediately outside the museum which is the closest parking to visit the museum, Hypocaust and Roman Theatre.  There are two designated coach parking bays and minibuses are generally accepted provided they fit into the marked bays. Payment can be made by cash/card at the parking machines; details of charges can be found here.The museum is unable to reserve spaces as this car park is run by NCP.  There is alternative chargeable parking at Westminster Lodge and some free of charge laybys nearby should the museum car park be busy. Coach parking map>.
 

Q18: Where are the toilets?
The museum has male and female designated toilets (with 3 cubicles each) plus an accessible toilet in the basement beyond the cloakroom.  They can be accessed via the stairs immediately to the right as you enter the museum, or by a lift which is located behind the Reception desk.  If your group arrives before the museum is open or you need to use the toilets when you are not scheduled to be in the museum, there are public toilets in the wood-clad building immediately to the right of the museum entrance.

Q19: Is the museum accessible?
There is level entry into the museum, throughout the gallery space and into both lecture rooms for learning sessions [LINK to gallery map].  There is a lift to the basement where the cloakrooms, lunch room and toilets (including an accessible toilet) are located.  The door to the lunch room is 720mm wide, to Lecture Room 2 (for Market Day learning sessions) is 760mm and to Lecture Room1 (for Artefact Handling learning sessions) is 780mm wide.  All other doors are double width and those into the gallery are held open by fire door guards.  Please note there are no automatic doors at the museum.

Please let us know in advance if your pupils have any particular requirements e.g. Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, English as Additional Language, and we will do our best to help.


Q20: Are there environmental considerations we may need to be aware of?
Please note we have hand dryers in all toilets.  There are three gallery displays with an audio element. In the People of Verulamium street there is a sound track of chickens clucking, a carpenter sawing and cart wheels running on a hard surface.  In this area there are also mannequins and it leads to the section of the museum with skeletons and human remains.
There are oyster shells and other shellfish shells and animal bones in both the learning sessions which can be removed with prior notice.
There is a small mirror in the main mosaic gallery and a large mirror in the middle section of the People of Verulamium street.  The small mirror can be removed if requested.
There are no external windows in the museum gallery.  To protect the artefact the lighting in the gallery can be quite dim.  The lighting in the museum entrance and lecture rooms is much brighter.  Please give your sight a moment to adjust when you move from the entrance colonnade into the museum gallery.

If you would prefer your pupils to visit during times when the museum is quieter, please let us know and we will endeavour to schedule time in the gallery when there are a limited number of other pre-booked groups.

Please let us know in advance if your pupils have any specific requirements e.g. Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, English as Additional Language, then we can do our best to help.


Q21: What if the weather is cold/wet/hot?
As the Hypocaust and Roman Theatre are a short walk away from the museum, the children will probably be outside for some part of their visit.  Please come prepared appropriately for the weather.

We have shared cloakrooms in our basement for coats and bags etc.  Please do not block any gangways or exits, particularly if putting out umbrellas to dry.

The museum gallery and Lecture Room 1 (used for Artefact Handling learning sessions) are fully air conditioned and do not have any external light.  Lecture Room 2 (used for Market Day learning sessions) has windows with blinds and if the weather is particularly hot teachers have the option of their children not dressing up in tunics [LINK to gallery map].

Please note we do not allow food or drink to be consumed in the gallery and lecture rooms.

If the weather is wet/cold and you have not booked the lunch room in advance [LINK], it is very unlikely to be available.  Please contact the Bookings Officer with as much notice as possible before your visit date and we will do our best to help you explore lunch options.
 

Q22: Is there a Gift Shop and can we can pre-order goody bags?
The museum shop is at the entrance to the museum and has a selection of fun, educational and decorative items suitable for children and adults ranging from 50p.  Goody Bags can be available by prior arrangement (costing from £3.00 per bag).  Please email museumbookings@stalbans.gov.uk.

There is a cafe nearby and other eateries where you can purchase hot drinks and food.
 

Q23: Does the museum provide First Aid? 
There will be a member of museum staff on duty who is trained to provide basic First Aid, however we ask you to take responsibility for the welfare of your pupils and most schools choose to provide their own trained First Aider who brings their own First Aid kit.  Please keep safe any medical items you need to bring for your children, e.g. epipens, inhalers.

Please let us know in advance if anyone in your group has allergies or medical conditions we may need to be aware of.

In the museum basement within the cloakroom area there is a baby changing room which individuals could use should they need a private space e.g. for injecting diabetics.


Q24: What if someone has allergies?
Food items sold in the museum shop are generally pre-packaged.  The Market Day learning session uses plastic/replica food with the exception of olive oil, rock salt, pepper corns and ‘fish sauce’ which the children are free to touch/sniff.  Please let us know in advance if anyone in your group has allergies or medical conditions we may need to be aware of.


Q25: How can I give you my feedback?

We welcome your feedback about your experiences visiting the museum. Please complete and return one of our evaluation forms [LINK] or if you prefer email museumbookings@stalbans.gov.uk.