Review of The Clash: London Calling exhibition - disabled access could be better but staff responded well well when I raised it with them
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Walking Aid
The Museum of London tells the history of the UK's capital city from prehistoric to modern times. This is a review for their The Clash: London Calling exhibition which is on until 19 April 2020. This is a small exhibition and based on previous very positive experiences of visiting here I was very surprised at the lack of accessibility for this particular exhibition.
Transport & Parking
The Museum of London is located near St Paul's Cathedral. The nearest tube station is St Paul's, which does not have step free access. The nearest accessible station is Farringdon. There are lots of buses that stop nearby. The Museum is on a pedway, an elevated pedestrianised walkway. There are a number of lifts which can be used to access the pedway and from there is level access to the museum. The location of the lifts are signposted but it can be a bit tricky to find. Occasionally lifts are out of order and when this happens the nearest working lift is not signposted. I had this problem yesterday. I entered the pedway from the Barbican by lift. I had planned to exit by the lift at Wood Street. When I got there the lift was out of order but I used the escalator instead.
If I was doing an overall review of the museum I would give it 5 out of 5 as I think it has good access. However this is a review of a particular exhibition. The museum entrance has automatic doors and step free access. In the foyer is a reception desk which has an accessible counter. There are some seats near the entrance door. The museum is step free via lifts to all the floors. There are also portable fold up stools available at the entrance. The Clash: London Calling exhibition was the only gallery I visited during this visit. The exhibition is adjacent to the entrance foyer. The exhibition is small but is full of fascinating items. It's well curated with lots of things of interest. However there were a couple of areas where access could have better been accommodated. There were 4 screens in the exhibition. One showed a silent film of old footage of London from the time the album was originally released and was silent. Of the other 3 screens which had sound only one had subtitles. The other 2 had no subtitles and this included the large screen playing London's Calling. The song is so iconic I would have thought it would have been possible to include subtitles to this quite easily. The other major problem was the layout of the display. In particular there was a long pink cabinet which had many interesting and often small sized items which was not fully accessible to wheelchair users. The cabinet was designed so that wheelchair users couldn't manoeuvre their wheelchair under the cabinet and get closer to the display. I got a stool so I would be at seating height and I was only able to view the front row and missed out on all the other fascinating items. See photos. Likewise some of the exhibition including a map, was high up and the item so small when I was sitting down it was impossible for me to read it. The layout of the exhibition was very disappointing, it was not accessible to all and not inclusive. The café is on the same level as the entrance. It is self service with a counter at standing height. There are free standing tables and chairs.
I used the accessible toilet near the entrance. They were spacious and clean. There are grab rails and an emergency cord reached to the floor but was tucked behind the baby changing facility, see photo.
I'm familiar with the museum and the exhibition was well signposted so I made straight to the exhibition. After the exhibition I went to the information desk at the entrance and asked to speak to someone about access. The 2 members of staff of the desk her extremely helpful. They listened to my request and called the duty manager. The manager came within a couple of minutes. They all actively listened to my feedback and the duty manager volunteered to escalate this so that managers could be aware of this for future planning and also consider it for the new museum building which will be located in Smithfield, which will be near to Farringdon station which is step free. Staff were excellent. I genuinely felt that they took on board what I raised and that my feedback would was valuable. The staff in the canteen were helpful.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
The café serves delicious food, recommend the cherry cake and the shop is stocked with London themed items, gifts and books. This is one of my favourite museum's in London. Although things could have been better in the Clash exhibition, overall the museum has excellent access and is utterly fascinating and well worth visiting.