On 15 November, a group of London Vision East members, all of whom have varying types and levels of visual impairment, were invited to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum to test out and review the accessibility of the building and its exhibitions.

The outing was supported by volunteers from Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of America, who provided sighted guiding to the group.

Members were given special permission to touch the wax models – a privilege not always given to the public!

The tour continued through the museum, and the group visited different themed exhibitions, walking through what seemed like an endless maze of wax works. There were high-quality and realistic wax models of celebrities and prominent historical figures, including the present British Royal Family standing on a mock-up set of the Buckingham Palace balcony!  Here, the members posed for a group photo with the life-like models.

Afterwards, the members had a ride on the Spirit of London: visitors sit in a replica of a London black cab and go on a short ride through an animated story of London’s history. It was both fun and educational, although its most ‘recent’ history of the city was London in the 1980s!

All in all, the members really enjoyed their visit to the museum. One member said, “The nice thing about the tour was being able to feel and touch the different props and clothing, hair and jewellery on the models”.

Regarding the accessibility of the museum, the group provided feedback on the main issues.

On identifying the wax models: “There were plaques to say who was who, but they were small and often a very similar colour to the walls, so weren't easy to find in the first place.”

On navigating through the rooms: “The toilets were hard to find. Without the help of my volunteer, I wouldn't have found them on my own”.

On lighting in the building: “Most areas were nice and light, although there were a few darker areas that I needed to be a bit more careful in”.

London Vision East is looking forward to working further with Madame Tussauds to help improve the accessibility of the museum and become an attraction blind and partially sighted people can fully experience and participate in.

 

Written by Raymond Calamaan