When we began our Museum Marathon back in April to raise money for Autism in Museums I never dreamed we would raise over £1,000. To have so much money was a huge responsibility. It took me a while to work out what sensory equipment to buy to make the most impact and it was important to me to spread the impact of your donations as widely as possible.
It has blown me away to receive 67 applications from across the whole of England, from Cornwall to Northumberland, from Manchester to Southampton. I was delighted to receive applications from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Applications came from large tradition museums, galleries, heritage properties, castles, and small volunteer run local museums.
I invited the Youth Panel from the charity Ambitious About Autism to select 9 of the best applications to give the equipment to. It was an incredibly hard task but after reading through all the applications and pre-voting we got together to debate the pros and cons before the panel finally decided on their top choices.
I have to say a huge thank you to Roy Stephenson and the Museum of London for not only offering us a meeting room so we could get together but also giving the group free tickets to their latest London Nights exhibition as a thank you for the panel’s time and commitment.
Thank you to all those who took the time to apply. I am just sorry we only had 9 packages to give away, many museums came very close to winning and the panel were impressed with the depth and range of museums that currently support and involve autistic visitors and volunteers. It was not just about museums that were already running events, the panel felt sometimes that the equipment could be the catalyst to kick start new events in museums that have not supported autistic visitors before. The panel were pleased to see museums aiming to be more inclusive every day not just on special occasions.
Also a huge thank you to SpaceKraft who donated one of the packages, without your help it would have been an even harder task.
A final thank you to the Youth Panel at Ambitious About Autism and their team especially Emily who was crucial to making this work. Autism in Museums is about hearing autistic voices and listening and I hope that is exactly what I have done.
So to the winners, congratulations!
Category A winners –
1 – Newcastle Castle, Newcastle upon Tyne, North East – UV (ultraviolet) package and bean bag
2 – Reading Museum, Reading, South East – Tactile package and soft play pillows
3 – Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, Ealing, London – Visual effects package
4 – The Lightbox Museum & Gallery, Woking, Surrey, South East – Tactile package (Donated by SpaceKraft)
Category B winners (ear defenders/fidget balls/torches/liquid timer)-
5 – National Justice Museum, Nottingham, East Midlands
6 – Telegraph Museum, Cornwall, South West
7 – St. Albans Museum & Gallery, St. Albans, East of England
8 – The Engine Shed, Stirling, Scotland
9 – Mid-Antrim Museum, Ballymena, Northern Ireland
To get more detail on the packages please see my earlier blog – http://autisminmuseums.com/free-sensory-equipment-from-autism-in-museums/
To find out more about Ambitious About Autism and the work of the Youth Panel please see their website – https://www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/