A report presenting the findings of a survey into the provision of access information on the websites of all accredited UK Museums.
Introduction: museum access starts online
There are many examples across the UK of museums, galleries and heritage sites welcoming and providing good opportunities for blind and partially sighted and other disabled visitors to experience their venue and collections. There is evidence that museums in general are considered to have 'good' accessibility for disabled people, compared to other categories of public building. However, as this report indicates, many museums appear to take no steps to welcome, or provide access information for disabled visitors, and in particular, blind and partially sighted people.
Following the social model of disability, a person is disabled through the loss or limitation of opportunities to take part in the normal life of the community on an equal basis with others due to physical, sensory, intellectual, attitudinal or other barriers. Therefore access - in the museum context - is the combined means by which the venue helps address such barriers, through information, resources and assistance.
There are 11.9 million disabled people in the UK. That's around 19% of the population, nearly 1 in 5 people. Around 2 million people in the UK have a visual impairment. That is 3% of the population, around 1 in 32 people. These figures will increase with population ageing, and by 2050 the number with a visual impairment will have doubled, to 4 million people.
Together with disabled visitors from abroad, and families with young children who would also benefit, this represents a significant proportion of a museum's potential visitors. Exclude them and a museum risks losing the associated revenue and reputation that brings in more visitors. In some cases, the museum or heritage site may even be in breach of the Equality Act 2010.
Download the report to read on:
State of Museum Access 2016 (PDF)