Ashley Smith-Hammond

There are many ways to ensure that your disabled visitors have the best experience within your museum or gallery.

A lot of adjustments are simple ones, such as making sure menus and leaflets are available in large print or the lifts are large enough to accommodate both wheelchairs users and their friends and family who visit with them.

Here are three top tips to improve the visitor experience of your disabled customers.

Space

How easy is it for wheelchair users to move around the museum? Provide plenty of room and have space underneath the tables so that wheelchair users can get close to the displays. This is especially important for visually impaired visitors who will benefit greatly from close proximity to the displays.

Lighting

Often objects are protected from light exposure as part of conservation, but this can make it difficult for some visually impaired visitors to see the artefacts. Consider providing buttons that allow the item to have increased lighting for a few seconds, enabling everyone to enjoy the display while preserving it for future generations.

Autism friendly events and features

Advising visitors of when the museum is quietest is a simple step to improve the experience of visitors with autism. Better still is to provide specific autism-friendly viewing times. Providing an empty room and lowering lighting and audio levels also will improve the experience. If it’s possible to make multi-sensory touch tours, include these in your programme. Plus don’t forget to offer good quality autism awareness training to staff.

Making just a few of these changes will make your museum much easier to navigate for your disabled visitors.

For more detail of what you can do to remove the barriers for disabled visitors, download our Disability Population Profile.

Many of the suggestions in this series are not art-form specific. Check out the other articles on cinema, festivals, theatres and gigs.

Main image credit: at the museum by Bruno_Casonato (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)