With so many relaxed events scheduled early in the morning it makes a nice change to visit a museum after hours. The National Maritime Museum offered a whole lot of ‘Royal’ fun at a relaxed opening of their latest 4 star exhibition of the Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits.
The museum in Greenwich opened from 5.30-8pm for families with neurodiverse children, including those who are autistic or have sensory processing difficulties.
Families receive a visual story before the visit and keeping visitor numbers low makes for a really quiet visit. Lighting and sounds are also adjusted for the relaxed evening, although the cafe was closed you were welcome to bring your own food to eat in that space. We opted for snacks in Greenwich Park before our visit on a lovely summer’s evening.
First up we enjoyed making medals inspired by the coins and medals on display in the exhibition. My son, not normally one for being creative enjoyed the quieter atmosphere and made a ‘King of Crabs’ medal inspired by crab fishing in Cornwall over the summer.
It has been a somewhat difficult summer for my eldest daughter and her anxieties were lessened spending time in the ‘Quiet Area’ with sensory toys which helped distract her during our visit.
After some crafting we picked up torches and museum trails before we headed on in to the exhibition. I loved the way there were lots of sensory props to help engage you with the portraits. Offering a tactile ‘way in’ to explore the paintings.
My son enjoyed getting dressed up in his ‘Royal’ furs, preposterous wigs and we imagined wearing huge diamonds and rubies on our heads like Queen Victoria.
Once our visit to the exhibition was over there were opportunities to make royal garments from paper and have your photo taken. There were also replicas of the types of clothing worn in the portraits and excellent chance to get hands on and feel the fabrics.
Having had a bit of an up and down summer it meant a lot to go out as a family and enjoy not just the relaxed surroundings but an excellent exhibition too. Staff were really welcoming and friendly and we took away some lovely memories and mementos of our visit.
You can find out more about relaxed events from the National Maritime Museum by signing up for their newsletter here – https://landing.rmg.co.uk/newsletter/subscribe.html
Autism in Museums also worked as a consultant on these events.