The Sensational Museum: Using What We Know about Disability to Change how Museums Work for Everyone.
Researchers from across England partner with leading heritage organisations to reimagine our experiences of museums.
Led by Professor Hannah Thompson (Royal Holloway, University of London), this £1M project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council wants to transform access and inclusion within the museum sector by putting disability at the centre of museum practice and acknowledging the diversity and difference of all visitors. The team, that also includes Social Design specialist Anne Chick (University of Lincoln); Psychologist Alison Eardley (University of Westminster); and Museum Studies expert Ross Parry (University of Leicester) will work with disabled and non-disabled visitors, staff, and sector organizations to prototype and test a range of new ways of accessing museum collections and cataloguing objects. The 27-month long project (April 2023-July 2025) will focus on two key areas: how museums manage the objects in their collections and how the stories behind these objects are communicated to the public. At workshops and events across the UK, The Sensational Museum will develop a sense-based approach to collection and communication. This approach assumes that no specific sense is necessary or sufficient to work with or experience museum collections.
Thompson explains, “many people want or need to access and process information in ways that are not only – or not entirely – visual. But museums are very sight-dependent places. Let’s imagine a museum experience that plays to whichever senses work best for you. The project aims to give all visitors inclusive, engaging, enjoyable and memorable experiences.”
The Sensational Museum is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
Visit The Sensational Museum to learn more about the project and to sign up for news and events updates.