The National Army Museum is launching a pilot programme of interpretative tools to support its latest special exhibition Unseen Enemy. Starting in September 2013, the tools are for members of the blind and partially-sighted, and deaf and hard of hearing, communities.
The Museum will be offering a range of tools to improve accessibility to the exhibition content and is looking for participants to help test approaches ahead of a major redevelopment. Unseen Enemy is a thought-provoking exhibition, which explores the impact of the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on the British Army, with a focus on the work undertaken within Afghanistan. The two trails form part of a range of pilot projects that the Museum is undertaking to better understand the needs of audiences and are being developed with some of the injured service personnel featured in the exhibition, in mind.
Developed in conjunction with specialist partners Terptree – a consultancy specialising in developing materials for the deaf and hard of hearing communities – and Vocal Eyes – a team who work closely with cultural organisations in developing content suitable for the blind and partially-sighted community – the trails utilise a range of techniques including integration of British Sign Language (BSL) and an audio descriptive guide. The pilot programme forms part of the Museum’s Building for the Future project, an ambitious programme of activities that mark a step change in the way in which the Museum delivers its offer including a major renovation to the Chelsea site. As a part of the development activity, NAM is undertaking a range of pilot programmes to test new concepts and ideas to evaluate their effectiveness ahead of the development of the new offer.
Learning and Outreach Devleopment Officer Charlotte Churchill, who is overseeing the pilot project says “This is the first time that the NAM has developed materials specifically to support the needs of the blind and partially-sighted and deaf and hard of hearing communities. I think it is a really important opportunity for us to explore what does and doesn’t work in improving the visitor experience of our exhibitions and I know that everything we learn from it will feed directly into the way in which our new permanent galleries are being developed.”