What is your project called?
SEND in Museums Project.
When did it take place?
April 24th – July 2nd 2019.
How much did it cost?
£200 + staff time in kind.
Did you receive any external funding?
Yes, from South East Museum Development.
What key area of Diversity did your Project focus on?
Diversifying our public programmes/events, exhibitions or collections to be more representative of under-represented groups and diversifying our audiences through targeted programming to be more representatives of under-represented groups.
Please describe the aims of the Project.
To enhance the museum experience for home educated families of SEND children.
Who did you work with?
We worked with a group of home educated SEND children and their adults.
What work did you do together?
We worked with local home educated families to gain their feedback on the museum and their ideas about what we could offer in terms of both resources and activities. They came in on two occasions, spent time in the museum and the Learning Space and gave us suggestions. We then actioned these suggestions.
What did you achieve?
As a result of the feedback we received have bought extra board books, a breastfeeding welcome sign, some footprints to mark the museum route, some toy cars for the transport gallery, a cat soft toy for the Victorian Room and some beanbags to provide extra seating for reading books in the upstairs galleries. We will also be creating a feely box in the medieval gallery.
What are the long term impacts of your work?
The main impact of this project is the creation of an ongoing relationship with home educated families of children with SEND. The families are keen to use the Learning Space in the museum on a regular basis as a meeting place to offer learning opportunities for their children. We are also intending to work with them on Museum Takeover Day in November 2019.
We have also enhanced our permanent galleries through the addition of extra resources as suggested by the families’ feedback. We are hoping that this will enhance the museum experience for all visitors and will be looking for references to the new additions in the visitor’s comments book and verbal feedback. We will also be asking the home educated families for ongoing feedback.
Have you embedded this work into your organisation’s practice?
We will be building on the relationship with home educated families by working with them on using the Learning Space to offer activities for their children. Some of these will be delivered by the museum and others by the families themselves. We will be talking to them about what they wish to do for Museum Takeover Day. This will hopefully enable the children to gain an insight into working in a museum. We are currently seeking ACE funding for a community project which will include co-curation of a display cabinet and a temporary exhibition. If our bid is successful we intend to include home educated families as one of the groups who will be involved in this.
What lessons have you learnt?
That it’s easier to work with home educated families via an existing group or contact. Luckily we already had a working relationship with someone who could provide this. We hope to work with this group again on Museum Takeover Day.
What tips would you give other organisations interested in this kind of work?
That SEND families know their children best, and it’s important to talk to them about what they need and what we can offer rather than making assumptions about what they want.