Making Cardiff Museum accessible

Cardiff Museum was formerly known as the Cardiff Story Museum. It is housed within the Old Library, a Grade II listed building dubbed one of the finest public buildings in the city. Originally the Cardiff Free Library, the building was used as the city’s Central Library until it was replaced in 1988. Cardiff Museum now occupies this beautiful space and tells the rich and fascinating history of Wales’ capital city.

Back in February, one of Sight Life’s members, who is very interested in the history of the city, visited the Museum. He told us how welcome he was made to feel and what a good place it was for visitors with sight loss. The Museum had audio description on its main exhibits and lots of interactive material. There were only a few things that he felt he could not easily access.

Sight Life approached the Museum to discuss how to further improve its accessibility; we received a very enthusiastic response to our request. We were subsequently invited to provide visual awareness training to all staff and volunteers covering the Museum itself, its website and community activities. The training had to happen by Zoom because of the pandemic, but nevertheless it was a great success.

Following the training, we received the following feedback from the Museum staff:

“Hope that you and your families are all keeping well. A big thank you again for facilitating the zoom VI training for our team. Lots of the team members fed back on how useful they felt the training was and really appreciated that it was tailored around the museum.

I just want to say that I personally as well as professionally really valued the training. It was full of such useful, practical information and tips for us all to learn and the handout was of extra use for me to disseminate to the rest of the team and my manager. So that we can continue to build on our offers.

We unfortunately are still waiting on the green light to reopen. I’ll make sure to let you know once we have an opening date and hope to be able to continue our collaboration from there. For instance, arranging for group visits to the museum. In the meantime, please let me know if there’s any additional museum resources that would be of interest to your clients.

For your evaluations, here’s some feedback from a team member on the training:

“It was really interesting and helpful to learn about a range of conditions that can affect vision. I thought it was extra helpful that the presentation included images that could give us some idea about how someone’s vision may be impaired and how light effects different people differently. I had previously wrongly assumed that brighter light would help in all cases. It was also really helpful to hear about the statistics regarding accessibility, specifically that not including access information on websites immediately puts the majority of anyone with access needs off of visiting. Additionally, the training in general was really well catered towards the Museum and our roles. Feedback was really constructive and everything suggested really attainable. Jane and Sharon were also really friendly and approachable and it’s reassuring to know that any measures that the museum can implement from this training, Jane would be more than happy to trial.”

Cardiff Museum engages in a lot of school and community projects. Many of its projects involve verbal storytelling and capturing people’s experiences and memories of Cardiff. We look forward to working closely with them in future.

If you think Sight Life could help to make your business more accessible to people with sight loss, or if you would like to enquire about visual awareness training, please contact us by telephone on 029 2039 8900 or via email on [email protected].