YORK Museums Trust, which runs York Art Gallery, York Castle Museum and the Yorkshire Museum, says it “needs your support more than ever".

The We’re Backing York campaign recently launched by The Press is today focusing on attractions managed by the trust.

The campaign aims to help the city’s tourism industry bounce back and is celebrating the attractions and businesses - big and small - that make York one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

York Art Gallery and York Castle Museum both reopened on Saturday, while the Yorkshire Museum remains closed for the time being.

All of the weekend’s pre-booked timed tickets at the gallery and guided tours of the Castle Museum sold out, which Richard Saward, head of visitor experience and commercial at the trust, said is a “really encouraging sign that confidence is returning and people want to come and enjoy museums and galleries once again".

The trust has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, it warned of possible job losses after losing £1.5 million since the start of the pandemic.

It said it is looking at new ways to engage with its audiences while remaining financially viable.

“Both York Castle Museum and York Art Gallery will be opening for fewer days and for shorter hours as we test demand,” a spokesperson for the trust said.

To ensure social distancing, the Castle Museum is initially offering special pre-booked guided tours of some of the museum’s most famous displays, such as the Victorian Street, Kirkgate and York Castle Prison cells, while its curators take visitors on more in depth tours of different collections, such as costume and textiles.

It will be introducing more tours in the coming weeks, including a family friendly tour for children.

The spokesperson said that the gallery’s permanent displays, Centre of Ceramic Art and Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition are free to view, “to encourage a higher number and more diverse range of people to visit".

“People have said to us that they would support us more with donations if we were free and as we face significant financial challenges we are hoping this donations income will help us survive this really challenging time,” they added.

The spokesperson said the trust is doing everything it can to ensure people have a safe and enjoyable visit to its sites.

“As a charity York Museums Trust needs your support more than ever,” they said.

“By visiting us, the donations you make or the tickets you buy help us to look after the city’s fantastic collections and to open the museums to the public. We really hope that those who feel they can, will support your museums, gallery and gardens at this really challenging time.”

For both the Art Gallery and the Castle Museum you must pre-book you timed tickets. Go to www.yorkartgallery.org.uk or www.yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk.