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Accessibility

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We are committed to making the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum as accessible as we can for everyone.

If you require any assistance during your visit, our friendly team of staff and volunteers are on hand to help. For extra support, we also offer a free admission ticket for a carer or companion accompanying a disabled visitor.

Our museum is in a historic building and this could make access difficult for some of our visitors. These details should be helpful in planning your visit, but if you have any other queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01202 128000 or via russellcotes@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

The Russell-Cotes welcomes volunteers with a wide range of abilities and skills. We aim to create a positive environment that enables all people to apply. For further information on volunteer roles, please visit Volunteering.

Everyone is welcome at the Russell-Cotes

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is located on the edge of Bournemouth Town Centre, not far from Bournemouth Pier on East Cliff. Please be aware the entrance to Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is on East Cliff Slope. The slope has a steep gradient, we recommend accessing the building from the lower sections of the slope, rather than the top of East Cliff where the gradient is steeper. 
The Russell-Cotes is a historic Victorian house with four art galleries and a modern extension which includes the visitor entrance, Orientation gallery and café. 
The galleries and most of the historic house has lift access, with the exception of the upper floor of the house. As the Russell-Cotes is a Grade II* Listed building, interior alterations are subject to planning restrictions.

Getting Here
Find out more about how to get to the Museum by car, bus, taxi or train in Getting Here

Disabled Parking
The closest car park is Bath Road South , Postcode for sat nav: BH1 2EW.  We recommend wheelchair uses and people with any mobility issues use the Bath Road South car park to avoid the steepest section on the East Cliff Slope; please be aware there is still a gradient on the section of East Cliff Slope from the car park to the museum entrance. Bath Road South car park has 7 disabled parking spaces, 4 of these spaces are located in the top left corner of the car park. Where possible it is recommended to use these parking spaces as they are closer to the museum. 

Entrance
The entrance to the museum is via the garden, the entrance to which is on East Cliff Slope. There is step-free access at the main entrance. Whilst the door is manual, staff are available and ready to help.

Welcome Area and Entrance Desk
At the Welcome Desk, staff will greet you. If you have any specific requirements or concerns about your visit, please let a member of staff know, and we will try and help.
The Welcome area includes the Entrance Desk, buggy and mobility parking, lockers, toilets, access to the main lift and the shop. 
Maps of the museum are available at the Entrance Desk to assist your visit.

Getting Around the Museum
Stairs and Lift access from visitor entrance to Orientation Gallery, Café and entrance to Historic House. 
Modern wing has clear signage throughout.
Stairs in Modern Wing have handrails on both sides.
Platform lift from historic house to galleries or set of four steps with handrail
Stairs in Historic House have a handrail but it is not always continuous.
Seating in various rooms, some with armrests and backrests.
There are lower light levels in some of the rooms either due to the historic light fittings or to protect light-sensitive objects.

If you need assistance during your visit, staff members and the volunteer team will be able to help you. All staff members and volunteers wear badges to identify them. You can also seek assistance at the café, shop and Welcome Desk.

Facilities
Toilets
Gendered toilets – Ground Floor
Unisex Accessible Toilet – Level One
Family Toilet with Baby Changing Facilities – Level One
Ladies Toilet – Ground Floor Historic House
Gents Toilet – Upper Floor Historic House (Access by stairs only)

Café and Outdoor Terrace 
The café offers a variety of drinks, cakes and light lunches. There is a mixture of seating. High chairs are available for babies. Staff are happy to help carrying trays or providing information about what is on the menu. There is no step-free access to our outdoor terrace café at present, but there are chairs and tables in the garden for use by café visitors. For more information about the café visit Café

 

Visitors with Mobility Impairments

Wheelchair and scooter access
Electric and manual wheelchair users are able to access most of the Russell-Cotes, provided that the dimensions do not exceed those of the UK reference wheelchair size.

Generally speaking class 1 scooters are usually permitted (please contact the museum for further information). Unfortunately, tiller controlled class 2 & 3 scooters are not permitted in the house and should be parked outside. This is because they are too large and do not have the manoeuvrability required to safely access the listed building.
We do, however, have a manual wheelchair for visitors to use (subject to availability); please ask at the information desk when you arrive.
If you would like to reserve the manual wheelchair for your visit please contact the museum on 01202 128000 or email russellcotes@bcpcouncil.gov.uk .  Unfortunately, the Museum is unable to provide staff assistance to those borrowing the manual wheelchair. However, please note that we do offer a free admission ticket for a carer or companion accompanying a disabled visitor.

Buggy and pushchair access
Buggies and pushchairs are welcome in the Café, Shop and Learning Gallery. There is limited storage at the main entrance or alternatively they can be parked in the garden. Unfortunately, the historic house was not designed to accommodate buggies and pushchairs. We have slings and a hip seat available as alternative options. If you have any questions please contact the museum on 01202 128000.

Lifts
The Main Lift: The Main Lift gives access from the museum entrance the first and second floor of the building. 
Level One has the Orientation Gallery including a ten minute introduction video and accessible toilet. 
Level Two has the cafe and level access to the ground floor level of the Historic House. The upper floor of the Historic House is accessed by the Main Staircase, there is no lift access.

The Platform Lift : There is a small level change between Main Hall to Galleries I – IV, there are four stairs with a handrail or the platform lift is available.  The platform lift has room for one wheelchair. The door is manual, if you require assistance with the door or operating the lift please ask a member of staff who will be happy to help.

Accessible toilets
There is an accessible toilet on the first floor. There is lift access to this floor.
There is also a family toilet with baby changing facilities on the first floor. Please note that this toilet has a step.

Seating
Both the modern wing and historic house have seats throughout the house for visitors to seat on. Most of our seating is benches or stools, however, there is some seating with backs and armrests. 
Chairs that are part of the museum collection and part of the display and not for visitors to sit on are indicated by a teasle or have ribbon across them. If you need assistance in identifying a seat you can use please speak to a member of staff. 
We also have folding stools visitors can borrow to take around with them. 

Upper Floor
The upper floor of the Historic House is accessed by the Main Staircase, there is no lift access. 
Visitors unable to visit the upper floor can find out about the objects on display in the Digital Guide , view our Online Collections . If you need assistance please speak to a member of staff or one of our volunteer room stewards. 
The Print Room on the upper floor is used for changing displays throughout the year. Ask a member of staff for the accompanying booklet which includes images of the objects on display and their accompanying labels. Or view the information on our Digital Guide

Café
The café does not have table service, but staff can assist with the carrying of trays on request. 
There is a range of tables and seating options, café staff are happy to move chairs for you.
There is no step-free access to our outdoor terrace café at present, but there are chairs and tables in the garden for use by café visitors. Please ask a member of staff if you require any assistance.

Emergency Evacuation
If you need help leaving the building in an emergency, please let the Welcome Team know when you arrive. There are emergency exits, taking visitors away from the building or to an emergency refuge points on all floors of the museum apart from the upper floor of the historic house.

 

Visitors with a Hearing Impairment

Assistance dogs
Working Guide and Assistant dogs are welcome and we can provide drinking water if needed. Please ask at the reception desk.

Subtitled Videos
The Orientation Video an The Mikado’s Room video include subtitles. 

Sound Enhancement System
The museum has an assistive listening device which is available for use on talks, tours and general visits. Please enquire at the Entrance Desk or to reserve in advance please contact the museum on 01202 128000 or email russellcotes@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Exhibitions, Events and Tours
The Russell-Cotes has a range of exhibitions, talks, guided tours and events throughout the year. For further details on events and the adjustments we have put in place to make them more accessible visit What’s On. 

Emergency Evacuation
If you need help leaving the building in an emergency, please let the Welcome Team know when you arrive. There are emergency exits, taking visitors away from the building or to an emergency refuge points on all floors of the museum apart from the upper floor of the historic house.

 

Visitors with a Visual Impairment

Assistance dogs
Working Guide and Assistant dogs are welcome and we can provide drinking water if needed. Please ask at the reception desk.

Lifts
The Main Lift has braille buttons and an audio chime to let you know when it has reached a different level.

Lighting
The Museum is in a historic building with low light levels in some of the room. Light levels vary across the Museum. Some of the Rooms are dimly lit to preserve the exhibits. Other rooms have natural or bright lights. The galleries are lit by spot lights which can create shadows. Some paintings are glazed with glass or Perspex, and display cases are finished with glazed screens, so there can be some surface reflection. Torches and hand-held illuminated magnifying glasses are available to borrow from the entrance desk.

Flooring
The museum has a variety of flooring; carpet tiles and laminate in the shop, orientation gallery and café, with parquet flooring, tiles and carpet in the historic house. Torches are available to borrow from the entrance desk.

Narrated Videos
The Orientation Video an The Mikado’s Room video include narration. The is also an audio piece in the Yellow Room.  

Large Print
The museum endeavours to produce all printed information in large print. All changing exhibitions in Galleries III & IV and changing displays in the Print Room have an accompanying large print label booklet. 

Exhibitions, Events and Tours
The Russell-Cotes has a range of exhibitions, talks, guided tours and events throughout the year. For further details on events and the adjustments we have put in place to make them more accessible visit What’s On. 

Café 
The café does not have table service, but staff are happy to help providing information about what is on the menu and carrying trays.

Emergency Evacuation
If you need help leaving the building in an emergency, please let the Welcome Team know when you arrive. There are emergency exits, taking visitors away from the building or to an emergency refuge points on all floors of the museum apart from the upper floor of the historic house.

 

Visitors with Learning or Sensory Difficulties

The Museum can sometimes be crowded and noisy. Generally the quietest times to visit the Russell-Cotes is the afternoon between 3pm and 5pm. When planning your visit please contact us and our staff would be happy to advise whether the museum has any large pre-booked groups. Contact the museum on 01202 128000 or by email russellcotes@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Sound and film are used in the museum as an interpretative tool, this means that certain rooms can become noisy, we also have musicians who play within the historic house which some visitors may find challenging. 

The museum has an open display policy, where many items are on open display rather than behind barriers. We ask visitors not to touch these items or sit on historic pieces of furniture. Chairs that are part of the museum collection and part of the display and not for visitors to sit on are indicated by a teasle or have ribbon across them. If you need assistance in identifying a seat you can use please speak to a member of staff. 

Accessible toilets
There is an accessible toilet on the first floor. There is lift access to this floor.
The accessible toilet has a fixed hand rail, drop down rail and emergency pull cord.
There is also a family toilet with baby changing facilities on the first floor. Please note that this toilet has a step.

Exhibitions, Events and Tours
The Russell-Cotes has a range of exhibitions, talks, guided tours and events throughout the year. For further details on events and the adjustments we have put in place to make them more accessible visit What’s On. 

Emergency Evacuation
If you need help leaving the building in an emergency, please let the Welcome Team know when you arrive. There are emergency exits, taking visitors away from the building or to an emergency refuge points on all floors of the museum apart from the upper floor of the historic house.

How was your visit?

Do you have any feedback that could help us improve accessibility? If you do please contact the Russell-Cotes on 01202 128000 or email russellcotes@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

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Additional Information

As a historic property and an accredited museum, we have a duty to balance visitor access with caring for the building and its collections, so that they can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.