Discover The History of the North East
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Hearing Aid, Walking Aid, Sign Language, Wheelchair, Hidden Impairment
Before Access Day 2019 I had not visited the amazing Discovery Museum in years! I was pleasantly surprised at just how accessible the venue was overall - there are always areas that can be improved, but for a free Museum in the heart of a busy city, it was a fantastic morning out. Lots of room for chairs - manual and automatic with gently sloping ramps all connecting to one central lift for access to all floors and exhibits: mostly clear signage, accessible toilets and most importantly well trained and attentive staff.
Transport & Parking
Based in the City Centre of Newcastle - there are a lot of Transport options available to you. Metro - the local underground style train service is cheap, accessible and mostly(!) reliable with the nearest Station being Central Station. This is a 10-15 minute accessible walk or roll to the Discovery Museum. Bus - local Bus Stations include Haymarket and Eldon Square with quite a long walk to the Museum from either station. I’d recommend this route if you wanted to see the sights of Newcastle or stop for lunch on the way to the Venue. There are some closer stops available via local route services and all Public Transport in and around the North East should be Accessible and includes spaces for at least one chair. Parking - There are a limited number of Disabled parking bays available here - definitely something that could be improved. But the few that are here are close to the entrance, have ample space around them and don’t have any obstructions to the entrance.
Access to the building is a huge positive for the Discovery Museum. There is only one entrance - everyone uses it, and it’s accessible. No excuses and no back entrances! As seen in pictures it’s a long sloping approach with an impressive archway and a large entryway with automatic doors and accessible entrance. All permanent exhibitions, temporary shows, event spaces and activity areas are physically accessible, and staff are always around should you require additional help. Signs are clear, and every area is well signposted. However not every video is currently subtitled making some exhibits hard to follow for people like myself who may need them, especially when there are no alternate sources of information available nearby. The main lift is large enough for most if not all types of wheelchair and provides access to all floors - but not especially quickly! The Cafe is located on the top floor of the Museum - it is accessible with ample room for chairs and a portable loop at the point of sale. Staff are also happy to help you to your table with your food.
There is a Changing Places toilet available here making it the only Museum in the City which currently has one. This can’t be praised enough! There are also plenty of Accessible Toilets available on every other floor - and within the Male and Female toilets. As seen in the photos the male Accessible Toilet has several grab rails, a slightly raised toilet and a handrail. There is also enough room to move around in a chair - but you may struggle to turn quickly.
The staff here are respectful, helpful and well trained in Disability Awareness - from greeting and exhibition to the cafe and gift shop I was made to feel welcome, and all questions were answered politely and enthusiastically.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
I would wholeheartedly recommend the Discovery Museum to anyone! It’s free, in the heart of the city, suitable for all ages, you can lose a whole day there and best of all they have invested in a Changing Places toilet and they are Accessible!