Welcome back to Access London and Thank You once again for continuing to support disability access and awareness to the arts.
Located in South Kensington, along The Cromwell Road, The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is the home to a vast array of objects and exhibitions from Renaissance to Contemporary, all based around art and design. Some of its permanent collections include Jewellery, Fashion, Ceramics, Furniture, Sculpture, Paintings and Theatre and Performance. It also exhibits visiting and touring collections and exhibitions that change regularly throughout the year - there is currently a Postmodernism exhibition on until 15 January 2012.
Inside, the museum is somewhat of a warren of rooms and passages housed in smaller spaces than some of London's other large museums. This gives the V&A its intimate feel and works well. Although the individual rooms may appear smaller, there is still plenty of space to manoeuver wheelchairs and scooters around and all of the gallery assistants are very helpful.
The museum is open from 10am until 5.45pm daily but has late night opening on Fridays, until 10pm. The museum itself is free to enter and visit its permanent collection. Some of the temporary and visiting exhibitions have entrance charges - those with disabilities usually qualify for a discounted rate and a companion/carer is usually admitted free of charge.
The V&A has a Disability and Access Helpline that can be called for all general enquiries: 020 7942 2766, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also book and hire wheelchairs which can be collected from the information desk. Please phone and book in advance on 020 7942 2002.
The gallery provides stools throughout which can be carried round for those who need regular breaks from walking. There is also sound enhancement equipment available for use on tours and lectures. Induction loops are present in retail areas, information point and desk areas and in the theatre and seminar rooms. The museum also runs a regular programme of BSL talks and tours - for more information on these, ring the access helpline on 020 7942 2766.
There is currently redevelopment going on along Exhibition Road (the road along which the level access entrance is to the V&A). Therefore the blue badge bays along this road may be out of use until the end of 2011. The disabled entrance to the museum can still be accessed though and is also being updated and improved.
Throughout the musuem, there are large print guides and braille information in front of some of the exhibits. There are also touch tour elements available throughout.
There are lifts to all floors of the museum, although I would advise picking up a map on your way in as these are few and far between once inside the main part of the exhibition and you may find yourself going a lot further away from the lifts than expected! There is a large ramped walkway up into the shop, as well as the main stepped entrance. Assistance dogs are welcome into the V&A.
All in all, the V&A is incredibly accessible to those with disabilities, is constantly improving the services it does offer and has extremely helpful staff, happy to assist if needed.
To find out where the nearest blue badge bays are in the area VISIT THIS SITE
To find out more about what's on at the V&A SEE THEIR WEBSITE HERE
COMING SOON: The Lion In Winter, London Coliseum, Menier Chocolate Factory & Pippin