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We have been working hard over the last few years to make our museums more welcoming for visitors with visual impairments, but most of our efforts to date have been aimed at adults. That is until a few weeks ago, when we held our first ever fun day for families supporting a loved one with a visual impairment. The dinosaur-themed event, organised in association with the Children and Young People Services team at Guide Dogs Cymru, proved a roaring success.

Photograph showing families listening to a story about a baby dinosaur

Everyone listening to the noisy dinosaur story.

We began the day with our popular Sounds of the Dinosaurs workshop. This gave everyone a chance to hold some real dinosaur fossils and get a basic introduction to the topic. Once the scene was set, everyone took part in our noisy dinosaur story, Albie the Adventurer. Using recorders, shakers and trumpets, the children had lots of fun recreating the sounds of the prehistoric forest.

Photograph showing a museum staff member leading a sensory tour of the dinosaur babies exhibition.

Museum staff leading the sensory tour of the Dinosaur Babies exhibition

Once we finished the story (and our ears stopped ringing), we paused for tea and cake before venturing out into the galleries. Heading straight to the Dinosaur Babies exhibition, we were joined by museum staff who gave a special sensory guided tour. As the exhibition is full of touchable dinosaur bones and eggs (both replica and real), it made for the perfect tour. Visitors even got to compare an Apatosaurus leg bone with a cow's, and listen to the scary roars of the animatronic dinosaur!   

Photograph of children and museum staff playing in the dinosaur dig pit in the dinosaur babies exhibition

Everyone loved the dig pit!

After the tour, we visited the activity area at the back of the exhibition. There, the children made dinosaur artworks, completed a jigsaw and even dressed up as a T. rex! Finally, everyone got the chance to become a palaeontologist and explore the dig pit. One young visitor even proclaimed, "I wish we could all live in the museum so we could play every day!"

We're still learning about events like this, but thanks to everyone at Guide Dogs Cymru, the day ran very smoothly. We're hoping to do more family days in the future, so if anyone has any ideas, or would like to take part, please get in touch! If you’re unfamiliar with our work to make our museums more accessible, find more information on the blog. There are posts on staff training, work with our youth forum, and of course our friends Arnie and Uri, the blogging guide dogs.


The programme of learning activities for Dinosaur Babies is generously supported by Western Power Distribution.

 

Liam Doyle

Learning Facilitator

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