The Steering Group for the HLF funded Heritage Project recently went to visit the Museum of Liverpool.
We went to see an exhibition about the Liverpool Blind School, which was the 1st blind school in this country and the 2nd in the world.
The Blind School Exhibition was designed to be accessible for people who are blind or partially sighted. The group decided to visit the exhibition to give them some ideas for the exhibition they will be making later this year about the history of People First Merseyside. They have decided that they want to make their exhibition as accessible as they can for as many people as possible.
Kay Jones, who is a Curator at the Museum of Liverpool, showed the group around the exhibition. She pointed out the accessible features of the exhibition. This gave the Steering Group Members lots of ideas:
The exhibition was easy for people to follow. Annis said: “it gives a lot of ideas of how we could do our exhibition. I thought it was organised in a timeline. When we first started looking at the exhibition it was history and then it was present day, and that’s something we could do”.
There was a yellow line that went around the exhibition to guide people who were partially sighted. Paddy said: “I thought it was very interesting. I like that yellow line, I thought it was a good idea. I did like the things you touch, that was an interesting thing.”
The objects you could touch were another accessible part of the exhibition. Some of these objects also had signs to say you could smell them. This helps people to learn in different ways. Emma said: “I like the touch and smell. It gives us ideas for us the way the lay out is and the braille.”
Joe said: “I like the videos and the touch things. You could smell them as well.”
As well using as braille and videos to make the information accessible, there were also audio recordings of someone reading the text panels that you could listen to in the exhibition. Pauline said: “I liked the way you could listen to them on the mic. It’s interesting what they are saying.”
Even though the exhibition was accessible to blind and partially sighted people, there were still things for sighted visitors to look at. Sue said: “I thought it was very good that the exhibition showed off a lot of things, like photographs.”
Some members saw similarities between the lives of people who went to the Blind School and their own lives. For example, the exhibition showed some of the basket weaving that students at the school did, and one of the Steering Group Members who used to live in an institution said: “I thought what was really interesting was the weaving baskets. That’s what I did at Thingwall Hall”.
Because the exhibition was so varied, there was something for everyone. As Tracy said: “I thought it was interesting. I thought the things they had on display and the information about it was really interesting.”
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