Women reading a display whilst another woman stands behind smiling and wearing simulation spectacles

Sensing Culture is a multi-partner project led by RNIB, aiming to remove barriers that prevent people with sight loss from accessing museums and heritage sites.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) provided £438,900 to fund the project after a need to improve access to heritage sites was identified within the heritage sector and organisations supporting blind and partially sighted people. Four museums and heritage sites took part in the project including: 

  • Canterbury City Council Museums including Canterbury Cathedral and Beaney House of Art and Knowledge
  • Oxford University Museums and Collections including Museum of Natural History
  • Portsmouth City Council’s Arthur Conan Doyle Collection, The Richard Lancelyn Green Bequest
  • Sussex Archaeological Society, Lewes Castle

Blind and partially sighted people were involved in the project from its early developments to delivery, making new accessible experiences available within the partner museums and heritage sites. Blind and partially sighted people supported the project, acting as mentors and advisors, from working on project stands, to artists working professionally within their field, access consultants and heritage professionals. Their involvement in influencing the journey of the project was vital in ensuring that the experiences created at the end met the needs of blind and partiality sighted visitors.

"HLF is delighted to have been able to support the Sensing Culture project, thanks to National Lottery players. The project provided a wonderful opportunity for colleagues from the heritage sector, disability organisations, and beyond to share learning and build ambition around inclusive practice. We look forward to heritage sites using the Sensing Culture resources and including more disabled people in every aspect of the sector." Caroline George, HLF Grants Officer, and Liz Ellis, HLF Policy Advisor. 

Project report and key learnings

Visit the Sensing Culture website to find resources and information about how you can make your museum or heritage site more accessible. You'll also find the project's evaluation report and key learnings.