Provisions vary from site to site, whether in the amount of wheelchairs that are available for loan, or the number of special seats allocated for a screening or other performance. Features unrelated to mobility may also be limited, so finding out in advance helps to avoid disappointment and also allows you to reserve certain facilities or devices if possible.
Many venues run events for disabled people such as guided tours and assistance from British Sign Language qualified staff. However, these features are sometimes dependent on the museum or gallery knowing about their requirement in advance so that suitable staff can be present and the right preparations made. In addition it is always advantageous to call ahead in case a place’s disability access has changed in any way that has not yet been listed on their website, or simply for clarification of particular services.
Sort out travel arrangements
Travelling to and from a venue can be equally as important as the access inside, and particularly if you are unfamiliar with a town or city it can be beneficial to refer to accurate maps – easily accessible online through services such as Google Maps – to get a feel for the surrounding area. Certain places have travel programmes specifically designed for disabled people, and it is worth checking for these online or in paper directories. In case of a lack of disabled parking spaces near to the venue itself, or another transport service that does not come all the way to the entrance, it is also worth remembering that terrain can sometimes be bumpy and difficult. This will usually depend on the area and whether it is rural or urban.
With the drive to make public places and services evermore accessible to disabled users, the website of a gallery or museum is generally filled with their schedules for providing unique features for visitors with disabilities. Some feature detailed calendars which highlight special events, such as programmes to assist visually impaired people with viewing artefacts or paintings, or activities to support and aid the enjoyment of people with learning disabilities. For deaf or hard of hearing visitors to London venues, the previously mentioned MAGIC houses the most comprehensive calendar of events.