We aim to enable as many visitors as possible to experience the entire museum. We want to encourage as much access as possible in order to enhance all of our visitors experience and as such the following measures are in place and details of any limitations are included.
Help and Assistance
Our friendly Welcome Team enthusiastically engage with all our visitors and support your enjoyment of the museum including navigation throughout our spaces and can provide any further information you may need. We are working towards being a dementia friendly museum and many of our staff have attended autism awareness training.
The museum is split into two halves, with both sides arranged over three floors, linked by several staircases. There are handrails on all the stairs and seating is available throughout the museum.
The upper floors on one side of the museum are unfortunately not wheelchair accessible. This area includes: The Period Rooms, the Toy Stories gallery and the Shaping the Body exhibition. These galleries are accessed via a total of 93 stairs (46 “up” and 47 “down”), which are spread over 6 staircases. The most stairs to go up in one go is 19 and the most stairs to go down in one go is also 19.
Kirkgate, the museum’s recreated Victorian Street, is fully accessible, due to being located on the ground floor; the street does contain a cobbled floor, but there is a smoother path around the outside that should help wheelchair users and those with limited mobility.
The Swinging Sixties gallery and the Prison exhibition are fully accessible, due to being located on the ground floor; however, some of the original doorways in the Prison Exhibition are very narrow and may prevent access to those using a wheelchair or other mobility equipment.
The upper floors on the other side of the museum are fully accessible via a lift; this includes the 1914: When the World Changed Forever gallery.
In the unlikely event of the museum being evacuated and the lift being unavailable, visitors can exit via doors at the front of the museum; visitors on the first floor, if able, should descend via the main set of 18 stairs. If unable, help is available by trained members of staff who can assist evacuation using our Evac Chair. The visitor should be able to transfer themselves, or with the help of a carer, to the Evac Chair.
We have walking sticks and a manual wheelchair that visitors are welcome to borrow on a first-come, first-served basis. Please ask a member of our welcome team on arrival.
Mobility scooters are permitted, we ask that drivers take care and due diligence when driving through the gallery spaces.
Those visitors unable to access the upper floors are eligible for an access ticket at a reduced cost.
Pushchairs cannot be taken into the galleries. A buggy park and a choice of baby carriers are available to borrow free of charge.
Assistance dogs are welcome and water can be provided for them.
We can get very busy at times with school groups and with families in the school holidays. We suggest that if you would prefer to visit at a quieter time, weekdays after 3pm, during term time or when we open on Sundays tend to be less busy, although we cannot guarantee it!
As we get busy, some of the areas are quite noisy including reception. We do not have a hearing loop fitted in the building, but staff are available to help, should you need it.
There are several areas of the museum where light levels are low – this is to help in the conservation of our objects, especially paper and fabric, but we do know that low light levels may be problematic for some visitors. There is always a lighter area nearby, but if you do require assistance, do please ask one of our guides.
The lights on Kirkgate, the museum’s recreated Victorian Street, change between a daytime and night-time setting for atmospheric reasons. A guide can provide advice of when Kirkgate will change between settings during your visit.
Signage and Display Information
All of our signage and display information use a dyslexic friendly font and are an appropriate font size.
80% of our visual interactives have subtitles.
Hands on Here
We often have people showing objects to the public and they can be in a number of spaces in the museum. They could be showing anything from armour to baby clothes! Visitors are welcome to touch these objects, but you do not have to if you do not want to. It is important to touch the artefacts or specimens gently in order to help us to look after them.
York Castle Museum works on a self-led basis and we do not have an audio guide to the museum. However, you can book a guided tour of Kirkgate or the Prison exhibition for groups of 10+, which may help to enhance your visit. You can even book a Victorian Lesson with one of our school teachers! For further information please click here.
Cars with a disabled parking permit can park for up to three hours on the road outside the main entrance to the museum.
The nearest car park is the Castle car park, next to Clifford’s Tower, which has 305 spaces, including 12 accessible spaces. This car park is off Clifford Street, off the inner ring road, most easily reached from the A19 to the south of the city or the A1036 to the south west. For further car parking information please click here.
There are two accessible toilets in the museum, one on each side of the building. Both are also gender neutral toilets.
The main shop is fully accessible; although it can be quite narrow around some displays. Please ask any staff member if assistance is required.
The café in the museum is fully accessible and has free-standing chairs, but should you require any help, please do not hesitate to ask.
There is always a first aid trained member of staff on duty. Please ask for help if required. First Aid kits are available on all floors and a defibrillator is available behind front desk.
York Castle Museum works on a self-led basis and we do not have an audio guide to the museum. However, you can book a guided tour of Kirkgate or the Prison exhibition for groups of 10+, which may help to enhance your visit. You can even book a Victorian Lesson with one of our school teachers! Click here for more information.
We have a sensory basket available for visitors to borrow on a first-come, first-served basis. These are particularly suitable for visitors with visual impairments or autism, but anyone is welcome to use them. Please ask a member of staff during your visit if you would like to use the basket.
For more information please call 01904 687687 or email email@example.com.
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