How a multi-sensory room helped make a museum become family friendly

How a multi-sensory room helped make a museum become family friendly

By Laura Hilton
Kim Gould


Looking at how a small museum investigated ways to encourage and engage visits by those with disabilities. The resulting free, interactive multi-sensory room linked to the wider public programme and enhanced a family friendly offer. Audience research informed the process and the resulting ideas evolved into a phased development to maximise limited resources. The practicalities of the new resource were assessed through further visitor research, which has informed the development of the content of the room and the duration of visitor sessions.

We’re very pleased with this project, and as we’re constantly changing and adapting it we haven’t had many issues that we couldn’t overcome. However, if we were to do this project again, we would certainly invest in proper soundproofing during the development stage, as the noise from the room does tend to carry and echoes from the high ceilings in the gallery space! We would also consult with local users as well as experts before fitting the room as to ensure that the equipment we have invested in is right for our users. The room contains an ‘infinity tunnel’ which was installed at floor level and had to be raised up to make it accessible to wheelchair users. Fibre optics would have been a far more popular choice in this location (and are one of our most frequently requested items).

Resource type: Guide/tools | Published: 2013