Perth Museum is a hit – but how is it for disabled access?

A photograph of the inside foyer of Perth Museum from above

Perth Museum opened its doors last month after a £27 million redevelopment project to praise in the press and on social media. But how is it for disabled access? Our Volunteer Coordinator, Claire, went along to find out.

Perth Museum

Perth Museum is housed in a heritage Edwardian building which has been transformed into a major visitor attraction by award-winning architect Mecanoo, whose work also includes the National History Museum in Abu Dhabi and the Hilton Amsterdam Airport in Schiphol. As well as gallery and exhibition spaces, the museum also features a cafe, museum shop, and learning and events spaces.

The entrances to the museum have either level or ramp access and inside it’s flat with lift access to all floors. Assistance dogs are welcome in the museum and its café, and fresh water is available for them.

Large print versions of the café menu and museum interpretation are available, and there’s a BSL video introducing the museum on the website.

Claire’s thoughts on accessibility

To access the museum there are two entrances, both with double automatic doors. One of the entrances has a ramp up to it, the ramp is wide enough for some to go down one side and up the other. There is a push button at either side of the door at a good height for a wheelchair user.

The reception desk is at a great height for a wheelchair user. There is also room in the gift shop to get around it in a wheelchair and the shelves are good for wheelchair users to see what is on sale.

The information for items on display is generally at a good height for wheelchair users, however, I did feel some of was too small to read. When I spoke to a staff member about accessible facilities, she said that there will be audio description headsets added to the museum very soon so this might help with some text being small and for those with visual impairments.

There were interactive screens around the museum that looked accessible to reach. You go into side rooms to see some of the items, there are no doors, however, the rooms are quite narrow so I had to ask people to move in sometimes so I could get past. There are seats dotted around the museum for anyone who might need to rest during their visit.

I didn’t see the guest exhibition, but I did visit the Stone of Destiny. You had to open a door to get into the first room but there are staff at the entrance that could help and the other doors inside open automatically. The rooms you go into are spacious and there are seats to watch the presentations.

The museum is on two floors however I struggled to find the lift to use at first and that’s because it wasn’t a standard lift door, it was a wooden door that you have to open manually. It had a sign on it to say stay clear of the door and there was a lift button at the side of the door. I would suggest having a sign on the door or above the door that says ‘lift’ so that it’s more obvious to those who are looking for it and need to use it.

I didn’t visit the café, but the tables looked fairly spaced out and at a good height for a wheelchair user. According to the website, there are large print versions of the menu available.

There are six accessible toilets at the museum, and it was fantastic to see a Changing Places toilet. It was very modern and spacious. The hoist covered the whole room, the changing bed looked soft, and the toilet was positioned well. The sink and mirror are also height adjustable.

The Changing Places toilet is accessed by a RADAR key. If you don’t have your own you can collect it from the customer reception desk. It’s right beside one of the entrances, so it can be used without having to go right into the museum.

I did speak to someone at customer desk about what accessible features there were, and she was very friendly and helpful and talked me through them. I noticed some staff interacting with families and showing them hidden areas around the museum, from what I could see they were all really nice.

I gave the museum five out of five stars for disabled access in my review.

More about the museum

At its heart sits the Stone of Destiny, one of Scotland and the UK’s most significant historical objects. Its first documented use was in 1249, and most recently it was used in the Coronation of the King in 2023.

Returning to Perthshire for the first time in over 700 years, the Stone is the centrepiece of this new Museum. Entry to the permanent and temporary galleries, and Stone of Destiny, is free. The museum’s website specifically says that it welcomes mobility scooter and wheelchair users to the Stone of Destiny Experience.

Alongside the Stone, the new museum displays Perth & Kinross’ Recognised Collections of National Significance as well as iconic loans and exhibitions from the UK and abroad.

You can find out more about disabled access on the Perth Museum website and in our first disabled access review of the museum on Euan’s Guide. With an amazing five stars for accessibility, it sounds like a great place to visit for all the family.

Tags: disabled access information, perth museum, museums


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