Access at the Design Museum, London.

The Design Museum, currently based in Shad Thames, London, recently started an Access programme with the goal of serving and opening-up its collection to visitors with disabilities. The current focus is with visually impaired and hearing impaired audience.

The Design Museum’s main focus is on exhibitions exploring mass production and new technologies, and has a unique collection that represents this ethos.

This collection helps us understand the world around us, investigating how design impacts our lives and also how the use of designed objects influences ongoing developments in design and manufacture.

As the wider landscape of ideas and debate continues to grow, it is great to see the collection at the Design Museum is now open to these discussions, while also looking at how design is relevant to people and the society.

The Touch tour of the Anglepoise lamp. Image used permission of Design Museum.

Access: 

This programme offers its visitors the opportunity to look at any one (or several) of the six design stories currently displayed, holding UK’s only collection devoted exclusively to modern and contemporary design and architecture.

On Sunday the 6th of October 2013, the first Touch tour took place. At this session, led by Andrew Mashigo and supported by Aimee Taylor, Design Museum Learning Officer, participants physically explored 4 objects in the permanent collection. 

Read Accessing the Design Museum blog, on Designerly learning, for the introduction to the Visitor Engagement programme at the Design Museum.

Process:

The Design Museum permanent collection is called Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things and it is within this collection that the Access programme will revolve around. We explored the Anglepoise lamp, British coins, Magno Radio and the Captivate light. The process of the touch tour allowed for us to view and explore the Anglepoise lamp, an iconic product first designed over 80 years ago by Automotive engineer George Carwardine. 

Mr Carwardine’s speciality was in vehicle suspension systems and that research eventually led him to develop a pre-tensioned spring, allowing the lamp to be moved in any direction while crucially keeping the lamp stable. This design feature gives the Anglepoise its unique profile.

Making actual object identification, identifying the various parts of the lamp and the uniqueness of its parts (springs, stand and lamp shade), the difference in the surfaces and temperature, its weight and materials all made the tactile experience a fun one. Plus the participants were able to share their valid views on this object and the others explored, and their value to our society today. All in all, a very fun and engaging tactile experience. 

Contact

To book on these bi-monthly tours, please email Aimee via aimee@designmuseum.org

The next tour is scheduled for Sunday 1 December.

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