THE Yorkshire Air Museum near York is to reopen its doors to visitors on Saturday.

Indoor exhibits have been rearranged to allow for social distancing rules and there is a one-way route around the site at the museum in Elvington, said a spokesman.

"This past two weeks have seen a hive of activity as the museum makes plans and preparations to reopen to visitors once again on Saturday," he said.

"During the past week in particular, there has been almost a frenzy, witnessing a major move to re-arrange and clean aircraft and vehicles, sanding and repainting barriers, cleaning hangars and an epic effort in the gardens from a team of volunteers. All work was achieved safely, under strict social distancing rules with tremendous results."

He said the Halifax Bomber, “Friday the 13th,” now stood at the front of the main display hangar to create a ‘wow’ factor when visitors entered the building.

"Light refreshments will be available from the museum shop while the restaurant remains closed to the public. Picnic tables will be located around the site and a new visitor route has been created to provide a safe enjoyable visit."

He added that the museum had been closed for 15 weeks and it had been a very challenging time with close to no income generation.

"Without government or local funding, this very special Memorial Museum, so important to the Yorkshire heritage, is faced with a £50,000 shortfall in income and recently launched an appeal for support through donations. Reopening its gates now to its supporters and new visitors is critical to its future sustainability."

"The Museum will re-open on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm. It will then open Wednesdays to Sundays and move to a seven-day opening from the start of the summer school holidays towards the end of the month."

Museum director Barbara George said the ground work achieved with the help of a handful of staff and a few volunteers was 'absolutely amazing and I am confident that our visitors are going to love our new display and the feel of our site.'

She said: "With our beautiful lawn, historic buildings and spectacular aircraft, people will love taking a stroll through our site: what a place for a family picnic! We would like to thank in particular William Birch & Sons Ltd for their generous sponsorship to repair our WWII buildings.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been challenging for many museums and heritage organisations. For us, it has been an opportunity to understand our priorities better and review the way we engage with our visitors. As a result, we are now able to provide a much-improved visitor experience.”