Music and the Arts

  1. VI Access at Museums

  2. Theatre and VI Access

  3. Music and Charitable Support

VI Access at Museums

For both parents and teachers of children with a visual impairment, it will be worth asking about VI access at museums and theatres through large print, audio description or apps for phone or tablet. Many venues now have downloadable information such as audio guides, apps, large print PDFs etc so it is worth checking this out in advance.
The following are some educational and access links to the main museums in London but many smaller museums will also offer accessibility options for visually impaired children.

British Museum access

http://www.britishmuseum.org/visiting/access.aspx (the bottom of the link has information about touch tours, audio guides and events).

Natural history museum access

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/facilities-and-access.html

Science museum

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/accessibility

Most museums will now have lots of accessibility features for people with visual impairments. Here is a sample of what some of Londons top attractions offer;

Victoria & Albert

https://www.vam.ac.uk/info/disability-access (scroll down)

  • Audio guides – the V&A does not have any audio guides which can be collected, however we do have audio descriptions on our web site at;                                     Europe Gallery http://www.vam.ac.uk/audioguide/europeaudio/tour/19/
    Furniture Gallery
    http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/audio-descriptions-of-the-furniture-gallerys-touch-object-displays/

  • Large print descriptions – large print books are available in all galleries. In a selection of galleries, Medieval and Renaissance, Stained Glass, Jameel Islamic Art and Photography, we have tactile image books available.
  • Touch – Touch objects are available in many of our galleries.
  • Set dates – We do have a monthly touch tour planned as part of the museums learning programme. However, if visitors are unable to attend the programmed events, we can provide assistance at the time of choosing of the visitor.
    Accessibility contact for educational visits to the V&A; b.ginley@vam.ac.uk


Tower of London Access

http://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/visit-us/accessibility/#gs.iKFxt28

Summary of access for VI;

  • Large print maps
  •  Basic tactile map
  • Large print children’s trails for the Crown Jewels
  • Free audio guides available on request with VI tour and tactile map
  • Tactile book for Crown Jewels to borrow
  • Tactile models of some crown jewels in the exhibition
  • Descriptive tours available for White Tower and CJs – subject to availability (pre-booked)
  • A little braille signage in the White Tower and on the Wall Walk – a general information book in Braille available to borrow from the Welcome Centre
  • Handling station in basement of White Tower with tactile objects
  • A new exhibition called Armoury in Action has tactile elements - a mini tactile model of the Tower, a block of stone with stone mason’s tools, some arrow heads, a helmet from a suit of armour, some chain mail, a model musket, a cavalryman’s sword (that can be lifted to feel the weight), a bow (that can be fired)- with a sound effect of whether or not the target has been hit. Some large print guides (containing all the gallery text) (currently in production)
  • Also – if a child needs a carer, then they can get a free carer ticket on the day at the Welcome Centre (the child pays standard child rate).

Westminster Abbey Access

We do not charge for those with visual impairments to visit the Abbey. We do offer touch tours and large print guides.
Please see the following sections for more information;


Theatre and VI Access

Most theatres now have many accessibility options for people with a visual impairment.
Many theatres organise; 

  • Touch Tours; usually annual or bi-annual events at the larger shows, will need to ask about these dates at time of booking through the access line.
  • Audio described shows; specific dates where the show is audio described live through headphones.
  • 2 for 1 on tickets per visually impaired person or a carer gets in free, these must be booked through their accessibility lines.
    http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/access/ updated lists of audio described and touch tours.
    https://www.cheaptheatretickets.com/london-theatre-access/ follow the theatre links for their access information.
    https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/your-visit/access
    A small number of theatres may require pre registration and proof of visual impairment to avail of their access rates of 2 for 1 and other special arrangements.

Music and Charitable Support

Music can be a rewarding and enhancing aspect of the life of a person with a visual impairment. The following are some charitable trusts who can offer support.

Amber Trust

Supporting blind and visually impaired children to fulfil their musical aspirations. Support for music lessons can be applied for at several times throughout the year.
http://www.ambertrust.org/

Action for Blind Children

They run a club called Actionaires, this involves a variety of events including music, drumming, occasional theatre trips etc. It is best to subscribe to get email updates on local events. This also provides an invaluable opportunity to meet other children who have a visual impairment and for parents to share stories and support each other.
https://actionforblindpeople.org.uk/support-and-information-page/support/children-young-people-families/actionnaires-clubs/

RLSB Choir

Information on their choir and other musical events.
http://www.rlsb.org.uk/our-services/the-rlsb-choir