Last year, VocalEyes ran a survey of 1700 museum websites, which revealed that a shocking 27% (458 museums) provided no information that would help potential visitors decide if their access needs would be met. In the report, we made the case that this would result in disabled people being excluded from these museums, and the museums would lose visitors, revenue, reputation, and could even be in breach of the Equality Act 2010. Read the State of Museum Access 2016 report here.
We provided league tables by UK nations and regions, as well as by type of museum (national, independent, local authority, military, university), but we held back from naming museums that failed to provide access information, or those that provided exemplary information and deserved praise. We now feel that this was a mistake, and are looking for public help to contact the museums that failed to provide information, and ask them to fix this, and provide welcoming and useful access information for disabled visitors.
Next year (2018), we are going to be doing this survey again, visiting the websites of all 1700 accredited UK museums, and looking through their access information. We want to see 100% of the UK’s finest museums, galleries and heritage sites to be supporting and encouraging disabled visitors.
How can you help?
If you work for a museum, and your museum doesn’t have access information online, then please read our report and the guidelines, which you can download. And then, please talk to colleagues and fix this – all museums should provide access information online.
If you want to help our campaign, then attached to this page (below, under the Downloads heading) is an Excel spreadsheet of museums that, when we did our survey (Spring 2016), did not provide any access information online.
You can help our campaign in 4 simple steps:
- Check the spreadsheet for museums local to you.
- Select one or more, visit their website and double check for access information in the Visiting section (We did the survey in 2016 – some may have added access information since then).
- If the website definitely don’t have an access page, then contact the museum (via email or contact form) to tell them it needs fixing. We’ve provided some text you can use below, but please feel free to amend, and make it personal to you. I’ve been a bit British in my choice of adjectives; you may wish to use stronger ones.
- Share it on Twitter: I’ve asked @MUSEUMNAME to provide online access information #musaccessinfo @vocaleyesAD http://bit.ly/2vJzmPO
We’ll be monitoring the hashtag #musaccessinfo and we’re of course happy to advise museums keen to provide access information.
Any questions – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line #musaccessinfo
Dear MUSEUM NAME,
I visited your museum’s website today and was surprised and disappointed not to find any access information. When planning a visit, it is vital for potential visitors to know if their access needs will be met. Without such information, people are more likely to assume that there is little access provision on site, and decide against a visit. Your museum could be losing visitors, revenue and reputation, and could even be in breach of the Equality Act 2010.
I would be very grateful if you would forward this email to the museum manager, or the person responsible for visitor services. I would recommend that they read the State of Museum Access 2016 report by VocalEyes (vocaleyes.co.uk/state-of-museum-access-report-2016), which is accompanied by a useful set of guidelines that will help your museum create useful access information.