How to help York Museums Trust with accessibility

The Access Team at York Museums Trust is constantly developing new ideas and activities for those with accessibility difficulties to our venues, but we really do need the insight of those who may be affected. We are putting together a consultation group who can help us make the right choices in what we do to make our venues accessible to everyone.

We will meet every two months at one of our venues and talk about specific items such as bookable events, downloadable resources, upcoming exhibitions or how best to get information across to the public.

Our next meeting will be at the Art Gallery on Thursday 18 January from 2 until 3.30pm. However, you will have the opportunity to come along beforehand at 1pm to one of our sensory tours which lasts 45 minutes if you would like to. You might even want to come earlier than that and treat yourself to lunch in the café or have a look round the gallery itself.

Each time we meet, we will arrange for anyone who is part of the consultation group to be able to look round the venue where the meeting is being held either before or after the meeting. All you’ll have to do is say that you are part of the consultation group and you will get a visitors lanyard which allows you the same access as any of our visitors.

The subjects up for discussion in the January meeting will be:

  • What are the possible alternatives for anyone not able to physically access gallery or exhibition spaces?
  • What is the best form of non-visual interpretation (audio guides / braille text / guided tour / QR codes to scan / Penfriend / etc) and what is their best use (are they a tour? Adding information about exhibits? Explaining what can be seen?) In addition to this, we will discuss virtual tours for before visitors come.

However, do please bear in mind that no matter what potential solutions we may find, nothing is quick or easy in heritage sites, so changes do take time. At least we will know that we are taking time to make the right changes and invest in the right things.

We already have representatives who are partially sighted or blind, using mobility aids including motorized wheelchairs along with representatives who lead teams in adult and social care; we would particularly like to have the voice of those with dementia and autism represented, although any additional need may alter a visit to one of our venues, so all voices should be heard. If you are interested in coming to come to the next meeting or becoming part of the group, do let Sarah Mortimer know at sarah.mortimer@ymt.org.uk.