We are pleased to announce the publication of the Museum and Heritage Access 2020 Survey report.
From March to June 2020, together with our friends Stagetext and Autism in Museums, we ran a survey of museum and heritage site visitors who are also users of access facilities, resources and events. Though the UK had just gone into lockdown and museums and heritage sites around the country closed to the public, the survey asked people to reflect on visits to venues that they had made in the previous 12 months. As museums and heritage sites are re-opening in a changed world, the survey report now presents an important benchmark against which we can measure ourselves in the coming months and years.
Because we believe that despite the huge challenges ahead, the museum and heritage sectors have an opportunity to re-build in a more inclusive and visitor-focused way. Nearly all respondents to the survey stated that they would like to visit museums and heritage sites more regularly, and the top three things selected as enablers for this were: more access information (online and available via phone or email enquiry), more accessible events (audio-described, captioned, signed, relaxed or autism-friendly) and better staff awareness, through training, CPD opportunities and above all, good leadership. None of these areas involve capital or major investment, and are all achievable with creativity and collaboration. There are opportunities to share collections in new ways, and include visitors far beyond the museum walls. As we recover and reopen, let’s not leave anyone behind.
This month (October 2020) also marks a decade since the Equality Act 2010 became law, time in which huge gains have been made in access and inclusion in the arts and cultural sector, bringing a positive impact to the lives of millions of Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people resident in the UK and those visiting. This report also plays a role in the broader Audience Access Alliance, of which VocalEyes and Stagetext are members, which campaigns to ensure that when venues reopen they are fully inclusive for everyone (#BuildingBackForAll) and that the ten years of progress are not lost.
Download the report (PDF and Large Print Word version) from the Downloads section at the bottom of this page.
Image: A visitor to Wellcome Collection’s Misbehaving Bodies exhibition touches a fabric, watched by one of Wellcome Collection’s visitor team.