Sunday, 8 February 2015

At the museum

The National Museum of Scotland has an exhibition on computer games at the moment and I've been meaning to take the Small Scottish Boy since it opened.  We didn't have any plans this weekend, so we went in today.

I've used wheelchairs in the museum before - both the Red Cross one and one of their own ones - so I was interested to see how my own chair compared in a familiar environment.  The answer is, it was a massive difference.  It still astounds me just how easy it is to wheel, compared to even the expertly maintained Red Cross chair, let alone the not-maintained museum one.

I didn't get to try it on the challenging entry slope to the new part of the building, as every single disabled parking bay was already in use (and, as ever, not all by people displaying badges).  I ended up parking further down Chambers Street and on the other side, meaning I discovered that unfortunately, there are no dropped kerbs anywhere near the main entrance (in the old building) and the kerb is well over the 10cm I practiced at the Westmarc centre.  I'm pretty sure it's not actually possible to get up it safely, no matter what the skill level.  Many millions have been spent on the museum over the last 20 years - firstly the extension and then the refurbishment of the older part of the building.  You'd think someone would have thought of a dropped kerb somewhere near the main entrance.

That said, I don't think access was exactly to the fore of anyone's mind.  The building also suffers from a dearth of both disabled/family toilets and lifts (elevators).  In particular, the main entrance is served by two small glass lifts and at weekends there are pretty much always queues of families with pushchairs and/or disabled people waiting for them.  It took us 15 minutes to get up to the 3rd floor and another 15 minutes to get out.  Once you're out of the basement entrance, there are a couple of other lifts in odd corners of the old building, whilst the new part is well served by large lifts (but it has that tricky slope to get in!).

On the plus side, I found our visit way more enjoyable, once we were in, even compared to going round in other wheelchair.  So another thumbs up.  The exhibition was fun too -  we'll go again at least once before it closes, especially since I bought a membership.

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