Here is information on our accessibility for visitors with a variety of developmental conditions, including learning conditions, dementia, and ASD. We are continuously working to improve our accessibility, and we welcome your feedback.
Royston Museum is a relaxed environment. We understand that people react differently to different environments. Our staff will never ‘shush’ or ‘correct’ somebody who is responding to our environment. We know that no two people will react the same way to our Museum, and so if we can provide something to make your visit more comfortable, please let us know.
What to Expect from our Building
We’re working to get our Museum on Google StreetView, so that you can preview the building. In the meantime, here’s a quick run through.
When you turn in off the pavement, you’ll walk through our original iron gate (it’s wide open!) There’s a small brick courtyard, with an office building to our right side as you face the door. On sunny days, there may be chalk laid out for drawing in the courtyard. There are a number of planters along the edges of the courtyard; they hold historic plants. Along the left-hand wall are rows of hand-knitted, brightly coloured bunting. The building itself is quite a neutral colour.
When you walk through the door, there’s are stairs on your left and a board on your right. The board has lots of poster and pamphlets advertising things happening in town, at our Museum, and at other nearby museums. You’ll walk past this board and directly into the main gallery. The stairs are hardwood, and the rest of the Museum is carpeted. The Main Gallery is one large room with a double-height ceiling, and an upstairs gallery that circles the wall and overlooks the main gallery. There are two flags hanging from the ceiling, and the Volunteer desk is right in front of you.
Display cases line the room, and right now tonnes of artefacts fill them up. Each case has dozens to hundreds of items in it, so it can be a lot to take in.
If you go back to the door, you can go up the stairs to the Upstairs Gallery. This circles the building, and shows our art exhibitions which change every few months. The gallery has a wrought iron railing about 1 metre high. It’s very sturdy, but has large spaces through which you can see down into the main gallery. On the far end from the stairs is our office! We often have the door open, and if we do, you’re welcome to poke your head in to say hi. Alternately, if you turn to your right just at the top of the stairs, you’ll find the door to the Tapestry Room. This room usually has a large open space in the middle, and display cases along the sides. It’s got two doors- they both go to the upstairs gallery.
What to Expect from our Events
All of our children’s events currently take place in the main gallery.
Our crafty mornings and days, while a lot of fun, can be very busy and noisy. Starting for Christmas 2018, we’ll be offering a ‘quiet craft’ time. This will run for an hour each morning before we officially open. We’ll have dimmer lighting, less noise, and a smaller (and less overwhelming) array of materials. Please let us know by at least the day before if you’d like to attend one of these- that way, we can guarantee a calm environment.
Our Toddler Music & Dance events are very relaxed, and filled with cheerful music and brightly coloured props. They tend to be very noisy, and involve lots of running about. There are usually about 10 children present. Please get in touch if you would like to attend, but have concerns- we may be able to address them.
Adult Movement, a gentle exercise class, is a relaxed environment. We play cheerful music, and it takes place in the main gallery. There can be anywhere from 3 to 8 attendees, and they won’t expect conversation. After the workshop, attendees often sit and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. You are welcome, but not expected, to join in.
Knit & Natter is an opportunity to sit, chat, and work on whatever handicraft project you’re working on. These are held upstairs in the Tapestry room. Thursday sessions can be very busy (around 25 people), and often noisy. Saturday sessions are smaller (usually around 5 people), and tend to be a bit quieter. Conversation is enjoyed, but not expected, and newcomers are welcome.
Lino Printing & Drawing are two distinct but concurring guided activities. Lino printing involves cutting designs into lino, applying ink, and using our antique printing press to create prints. The drawing class goes about the Museum and focuses on drawing different objects in the Collection. They are both fairly quiet and focused events, with each attendee focusing on their own craft. Volunteers teach both classes. They’ll give as much or as little guidance as you’d like.
What to Expect from our Staff and Volunteers
Our staff and volunteers are here to help you enjoy your visit.
When you enter on a normal day, somebody will ask if you’ve been to the Museum before. They may offer to show you around. You are welcome to explore on your own if you’d prefer- we won’t be offended if you turn down a guide. We also have pamphlets and trails that you can pick up to guide yourself around. If you have any questions, we will be happy to answer them as best as we can. Otherwise, we’ll stay out of your way.
During our events, somebody will welcome you at the desk and accept payment (if it is not a free event), and then offer to demonstrate the activity. You are welcome to say yes or no- there is no right or wrong way to take part in any event!
Since we’re a museum in a historic building, we don’t always have full control over the environment. We thought you might like to be aware of a few things:
It’s usually fairly quiet in here, but noise does echo. If there are lots of people talking, it can be very noisy. This usually only happens when we’re holding events- you can find a list of these here. We have a few ‘auditory exhibits’ in the Museum. These only make noise when you press the yellow button. None of our noises are motion or sensor activated, so there shouldn’t be any loud surprises.
Most of the Museum has medium intensity LED lighting. All of our windows are covered up, and all our lighting is on the ceiling pointing down or at the sides. Each display case also has lighting inside of it. Because of the corners of display cases, there are some areas that have lots of shadows. The Tapestry Room (upstairs) has dimmer lighting than the rest of the Museum.
The building usually stays around 20 degrees in the summer- sometimes, it’s a lot cooler than outside. It’s often around 15 degrees in the winter (sorry, we can’t heat it very well!) During the winter, we turn on small heaters near the Volunteer desk, and they’re happy to share if you get chilly. The humidity is constant and relatively low; it may feel ‘drier’ than your house.
We spend so much time here, we’re not sure what we smell like! However, we ask people to not bring in hot food, and we don’t have a cafe on site, so there are very few smells beyond the building itself. One interactive display, at the end of the Roman display, contains cumin seeds, which do smell if you get close to it.
We have lots of things that you CAN touch, and a few things that are too fragile. Throughout the main gallery are several interactive sets and displays- our volunteers can give you a trail showing where these are (we’re also going to put it online soon). Please feel free to handle, move, and generally play with these. Everything else that is downstairs and not in a display case can be touched, although we do try not to. Some of it very heavy, and some of it is very old, but we won’t be upset if somebody does touch it or bump into it. Please don’t touch any of the art hanging upstairs, and please don’t lean on or act roughly with the glass on the display cases.
Need a Break?
We’ve got a few options. We trust you to know what’s best for you and your group. So, we won’t intervene or interrupt you if somebody is getting overwhelmed. However, we’re happy to help however we can. The Tapestry room upstairs is usually very quiet and dim, and we’re happy to close the doors for you to have a private space to relax. We also have a bean bag and a blanket in the office that we can lend for your chill out space. Alternately, the Research Room (at the back of the main gallery, below the office) has a desk and chair, and a cool tile floor. It’s got craft materials and some other soft brightly coloured toys. Just ask us and we’ll be happy to show you.