The Hull Maritime Museum in Queen Victoria Square.
The Hull Maritime Museum in Queen Victoria Square.

New accessible symbols trial to make sure everyone can enjoy Hull’s Maritime Museum

Hull City Council wants people with special educational needs and disabilities to be able to enjoy your museums to the full.

That’s why the council-led Hull Maritime project has teamed up with Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust to test a set of symbols to improve access to the collections and artefacts within Hull Maritime Museum.

The Speech and Language Therapy Team within the Community Team for Learning Disabilities is helping test a bespoke series of access symbols and phrases with potential users, before sharing feedback and advice with the Curator of Social and Maritime History and project exhibition designers, Haley Sharpe Design.

These symbols will summarise key interpretation messages and the issues and narratives they represent and add additional context to what people can see in the exhibition or landscape. So, they are never just standalone sentences.

We hope that this will have relevance for people with learning disabilities, the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), English as a second language and dementia communities, as well as for those supporting people with low literacy levels.

This research will extend to the understanding of the key elements of our maritime story, selecting the most important and engaging for translation to symbols.

As well as text panels and graphics, additional information to an academic level will also be available virtually and physically within the gallery.

Councillor Mike Ross, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “The council-led Hull Maritime project wants to make sure everyone can access and enjoy our collections and heritage.

“It’s great that this trial will enable a greater level of understanding for many people who previously found it difficult to understand to the stories and the meaning of artefacts.

“We want to take away any barriers that may prevent people enjoying our museums, so that more and more people can use them.”

Ali Falconer, Speech and Language Therapy Clinical Lead within Community Team for Learning Disabilities, Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This project will help individuals with learning disabilities, autism and other communication difficulties to access the museum in a way that is so rarely provided, but is so very needed.”

The refurbishment of the Grade II* listed, Hull Maritime Museum is part of Hull Maritime, funded by Hull City Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Other elements of the project include a new bespoke storage centre at Dock Office Chambers, the restoration of the Spurn Lightship, the creation of a new visitor attraction at the North End Shipyard which will become the new home of the Arctic Corsair.

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