On the 10th – 12th March, organisations across the country took part in Access Day 2017. The award-winning festival is a three-day event which aims to promote better accessibility for disabled people and their families and friends. Among those taking part were a selection of museums, art galleries and libraries, inviting those with disabilities and impairments to try something different.
At the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon, disabled visitors and their carers were allowed free entry and encouraged to try all sorts of activities, from listening to Tudor music to learning to write with a quill. The Yorkshire Museum staged a relaxed opening on Sunday 12th March, adjusting the light and sound levels to facilitate a quieter, calmer visit for those with autism, dementia and other specialist needs. In London, The Tate Modern conducted a series of touch tours, whilst the Design Museum developed a sensory trail, allowing its visitors to get up close and personal with its collection.
The day also proved to be a useful event for museums to further promote the wonderful things they do for accessibility year-round. The Beamish Museum in the North of England used the day to launch their new Access Days leaflet, and the Cardiff Story Museum in Wales showcased its ongoing commitment to accessible interpretation, with resources available in twelve languages across eight different platforms. Eureka! – The National Children’s Museum – also used the day to voice its support for Changing Places, the national campaign committed to providing safe, fully-accessible toilets to over a quarter of a million people. Historic Scotland also took part for the first time, providing the latest guidance on accessibility across its sites country-wide. You can check out their top tips for enjoying their sites here.
These are just a few of the organisations who helped to make Access Day 2017 such a success. To find out more about the day, why not visit the website or check out the Twitter feed? It’s full of fun photos, top tips and some lovely visitor comments. The day itself is powered by Euan’s Guide, a review website which allows visitors the chance to share and discover accessible places online. You can visit the site here.
Becky MacNaughton, News Editor