Our family-friendly galleries are accessible to all.
Access for all visitors is via our main entrance on Blagrave Street (through automatic opening doors). Please be aware there is a gentle slope down to the reception. The Museum entrance is then accessed via a short flight of stairs or by a ramp (with handrails). A lift on the ground floor takes you up to first and second floors.
Around the Galleries
- The galleries are accessible for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues.
- You will find the lift located on your right as you enter the ground floor of the Museum. The lift takes visitors up to the first and second floors. There is also the main staircase which has handrails on both sides.
- You will find seating throughout the Museum. We also have portable wooden stools available; please ask Museum staff if you wish to use these.
- You can download a Sensory Map of the Museum to help our visitors on the autism spectrum at the bottom of this page.
Travel to Reading Museum & Town Hall, The Abbey Quarter & The Riverside Museum at Blake's Lock
Around the Abbey Quarter
- The Abbey Ruins are accessible for wheelchair users and those with mobility issue via a footpath. Please note there is step free access but no hand rail.
- The Abbey Gateway is only available for organised visits. The Gateway has no step access and there are uneven steps and floors because this is a heritage site. Buggies and pushchairs can be stored on the ground floor if you are taking part in an activity.
Around the Riverside Museum at Blake's Lock
- The Riverside Museum display and the Turbine House are accessible for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues. There is step free access to the Riverside Museum and a small ramp with handrail to access the Turbine House. Please note you may need to ask for assistance opening the Turbine House door prior to entering. One of the Bel & Dragon staff or a resident artist should be available to help.
- Please be aware that the approach to the Riverside Museum from the car park has an uneven cobbled surface. The flooring in the Turbine House also has uneven wooden flooring.
Let us help you
- All groups (10 or more people), or visitors with special requirements should contact us in advance using the form below. This will allow us to discuss any difficulties you might encounter, and to offer you the best service possible.
- If you need help please talk to the member of staff at the reception desk, located opposite the entrance. There are also staff in the Museum galleries who are very happy to help in any way. We welcome feedback which will help us to improve our services.
Please note that there are no toilets currently available at Reception or in the Town Hall due to building work across the Museum & Town Hall. The Museum toilets are available for Museum visitors.
- You will find a fully accessible toilet directly behind the reception at the Museum & Town Hall (currently unavailable). Please ask the member of staff on duty at Reception for a radar key to access this. There are also a number of larger toilets located throughout the building (currently unavailable), including on the second floor of the Museum (no radar key required). Baby changing facilities are also available.
- You will find an accessible toilet in the Forbury Gardens, in the Abbey Quarter.
Around the Town Hall
- If you are attending a function, concert or viewing the Museum objects on display in the Town Hall you can access the first and second floors via the Town Hall lift. The majority of our function rooms are accessible for wheelchair users.
- There is a staircase in the Town Hall which leads you from reception up to the first floor (with handrails). Please note that the Concert Hall balcony can only be accessed via a short flight of stairs (however there is alternative seating in the main Concert Hall).
- An induction loop is provided in the Concert Hall. There is also an induction loop available in our Victoria Hall (please contact us in advance as a technician will be required). A portable induction loop is available for meetings and talks in other areas of the building (again, please contact us in advance using the form below).
Additional access information
- Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Assistance Dogs are welcome in the Museum & Town Hall and at the Riverside Museum. All dogs are welcome in the Abbey Ruins.
- Our Museum is relaxed and informal. Staff are very happy to help those with additional needs to discover more about our displays.
- The galleries are general quieter after 2.30pm on weekdays. You can download a Sensory Map of the Museum at the bottom of this page.
- We have a lot of school groups using our galleries in term-time weekdays between 10am and 2.15pm, so if you wish to see a particularly gallery it may be advisable to visit outside these times or contact us in advance.
- Magnifying glasses and torches are available for loan, please ask a member of staff.
- Large print information sheets are available in our temporary exhibitions. We can also run off further gallery information in large print where possible, please just ask.
- Thermoform bats of the Bayeux Tapestry are available, please ask a member of staff. Key scenes of the Tapestry have been recreated as a raised image on each bat. The inner handrail around each section of the Tapestry has a raised circle to let visitors know when they reached one of the key scenes. Staff can help you carry these up to the first floor for use with the Tapestry.
- Audio Guides of the Bayeux Tapestry can be used alone or alongside the thermoform bats. Key scenes of the Tapestry are explained. Please ask a member of staff
- There are objects to handle or touch in some of our galleries. Please ask a member of staff if you would like to explore one of our Loans boxes. These contain items of the collection that go out to schools to be handled in the classroom. In our Green Space gallery you will also find a series of small carved wooden 'pictures' - designed to be touched. You will also find a tactile geographical map on display in this gallery.
- If you would like to arrange an adapted education session for a group of adults or children with additional needs please use the form below.
The museum staff were excellent. They provided the warmest welcome I have received on visiting a museum in a long time
Arts Council England Assessor, August 2019