Learning and Access Policy
Name of Museum: HorsePower, The King’s Royal Hussars Museum in Winchester
Name of Governing Body: The King’s Royal Hussars Museum in Winchester Trust
Date on which this Policy was Approved by Governing Body: 10 Mar 2020
1. HorsePower, the Museum of The King’s Royal Hussars, is responsible for the Regiment’s historic collection of militaria, works of art, personal souvenirs and archives and tells the story of The King’s Royal Hussars and its antecedent regiments from 1715 to the present day. The museum is located in Peninsula Barracks, a Grade II listed site in the centre of Winchester.
2. The museum’s mission is:
“To safeguard its collections in order to tell the story of an English cavalry regiment for the education and enjoyment of all people living in and visiting Hampshire, regardless of age, background and ability, and of past and present members of the regiment and their families.”
3. The museum fulfils its mission by making its collections and services as accessible as it can to meet the wide-ranging needs of the public. It acknowledges that a significant proportion of the population is not familiar with military history, language and customs, and reflects this situation in the way it communicates with the public.
4. The museum undertakes to:
a. Provide an all year affordable, informative and enjoyable experience to all visitors and users.
b. Be welcoming to people of all ages, social and cultural backgrounds, interests and levels of ability.
c. Enhance the public’s understanding and appreciation of the history and role of soldiers as an integral part of Britain’s social and cultural heritage.
Types of Access
5. The museum recognises that obstacles to access must be overcome, or minimalised as far as possible. It believes that everyone should have the fundamental right to engage and enjoy the museum’s facilities and benefit from all it has to offer. The museum therefore caters for all audiences regardless of ability, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, race, religion, ethnicity or social background.
6. The museum recognises that potential barriers to access can be physical, sensory, psychological, intellectual, emotional, attitudinal, financial, educational, cultural or geographical. The museum strives to overcome these barriers as it understands that they could otherwise prevent people engaging with the museum, its collections and archives, public programmes, website, interpretation and displays, its staff or other publics services. The museum therefore aims to address and minimise each of these barriers as resources permit.
Current Learning and Access
7. The museum currently has the following learning and access offer:
a. The museum is open all year except during the two-week Christmas break and is open on Sundays between Armed Forces Day in June and the National Heritage Weekend in September (see website and other advertisements for detailed opening hours).
b. The museum is accessible to people with impaired mobility, people using wheelchairs and families with strollers.
c. The museum does not charge admission for children under 16 years. Prices are advertised at the museum entrance and on the website.
d. The museum does not charge admission for service personnel who can produce a MOD 90 (MOD Identity card).
e. People can make appointments to carry out research in the archives and in the reserve collection.
f. The museum offers schoolchildren’s learning activities in partnership with Winchester’s Military Museums.
g. The museum offers lunchtime talks in partnership with Winchester’s Military Museums.
h. The museum arranges an annual programme of evening lectures.
i. The museum recruits paid staff and volunteers on the basis of their suitability for the post regardless of their social, professional or cultural background.
j. The museum provides support and training to ensure that paid staff and volunteers are familiar with the museum’s Access Policy and are able to respond to the differing needs of visitors and users.
k. The interpretation of the objects on display ensures people without knowledge or experience of the military can appreciate their significance and their context
l. Written information in printed and electronic publicity material, object labels and exhibition panels aim to meet the varying needs of specialists, children, people with reading disabilities and visitors with little or no knowledge of English. Text is easy to read and uses sans serif script.
m. The museum maintains a website that encourages active participation with the museum and its services no matter where an enquiry might come from.
n. The museum carries out periodic consultations with users to evaluate the effectiveness of its Access Policy. This type of public consultation along with the use of focus groups will be conducted specifically ahead of the museum’s modernisation and updating plans to ensure that we fully understand all user requirements before conversion work starts.
o. The Access Policy is reviewed annually in March by the museum’s Trustees.
p. The museum has a formal learning programme which outlines its learning offer.
8. The museum’s policy for learning and access cover five key areas:
• Access and Inclusion
• Learning and Interpretation
8.1 Access and Inclusion
a. The museum strives towards overcoming all barriers to access and inclusion by referring to best practice guidelines and current legislation, as well as through user testing.
b. The Curator and Museum Assistant act as audience advocates on all projects, ensuring the needs of all visitors and all access needs are considered and met. The Front of House staff and volunteers provide a warm welcome to all visitors, providing assistance and information as required.
c. The Curator and Museum Assistant advise and monitor all access related initiatives throughout the museum. This includes reviewing opening hours to ensure they do not restrict any particular visitor group.
d. The museum offers research facilities and access to the collections held in stores and archives, and will continue to explore ways in which this access can be improved.
e. Best Practice guidelines are used to ensure the needs of all visitors are considered and met in the design and final display of all new graphics, signs and labels in order to meet the requirements of the Equality Act (2010).
f. Physical barriers to access are reduced as far as possible. Accessible routes for wheelchairs and other mobility aids are provided throughout the museum with appropriate seating also provided. Accessible toilet facilities are available within the building and entrances and exits to the museum are continually maintained.
g. Attitudinal and psychological barriers to access are reduced through a number of means. The museum ensures that all marketing material is appealing and appropriate to target audiences. All visitor information and signage is clear and easy to locate, both onsite and online.
h. The formal learning programme is targeted to audiences to support learning and be appropriate to their needs.
i. Family friendly services are provided and promoted in-line with the ‘Kids in Museums Manifesto’, to which the museum is signed up. These include, but are not limited to, activity trails and social media updates.
j. Intellectual and educational barriers to access are reduced by ensuring that no content assumes specialist knowledge and is tailored to the needs of its target audience. All text is written in plain English and concise in length, ensuring it is appropriate for the target audience. All labels and panels are developed following recommended guidelines.
k. Multiple levels of interpretation are provided to allow visitors to choose the level of information they wish to engage with.
l. Cultural barriers to access are reduced by ensuring interpretation and programmes reflect the interests of the diverse global community, and explain different cultures and their traditions to visitors who may have otherwise been unaware.
m. Financial barriers to access are reduced where possible. A minimal entrance fee is charged, with children under 16 admitted for free.
n. Geographical barriers to access are overcome by providing an online presence via our website and various social media outlets. The museum also provides outreach, and attends several offsite events throughout the year.
a. Continual market research and visitor profiling is carried out by the Curator and Museum Assistant to fully understand the museum audience and to provide for their needs.
b. Learning programmes and interpretation are informed by consultation to ensure they are relevant to learners’ needs and interest. This also ensures they reflect the diverse global audience.
c. To encourage engagement, the museum aims to work with local groups who are less likely to visit the museum.
d. The Curator and Museum Assistant will advise on visitor experience and customer care, particularly in relation to families, schools and other formal and informal learning groups.
e. As the museum increases participation in events offsite, it hopes this will expand its audience further.
8.3 Learning and Interpretation
a. The museum is committed to advocating The King’s Royal Hussars and contributing to Britain’s military history through interpretation and learning. In addition to this, raising awareness of how the regiment has helped shape history and continues to do so.
b. The Curator and Museum Assistant act as audience advocates on interpretation projects to ensure the needs of all visitors with a realm of different learning styles, ages and interests are met.
c. Interpretation content and learning programmes are informed by audience consultation where possible.
d. The Curator and Museum Assistant refer to best practice learning theories and government guidelines (National Curriculum and Early Years Foundation Stage Principles) when developing learning programmes or advising on interpretation.
e. Learning provision is targeted and tailored for specific audiences so that it is appropriate to their needs, interests, experiences and prior knowledge.
a. The museum’s staff, trustees and volunteers fully support and champion practices which promote learning and audience needs, access and inclusion.
b. The museum encourages open discussion with audiences and stakeholders in relation to learning and access through questionnaires, feedback and online (via the museum website and social media).
c. Effective communication with audiences relies on good internal communications. The Curator regularly updates all staff on all relevant information.
d. The museum aims to build relationships with learning organisations, community groups and other heritage organisations, whether through the Winchester’s Military Museums education programme, or independently.
a. Planning for learning programmes and access requirements is informed by best practice, visitor feedback and changes in legislation.
b. The Curator, Museum Assistant, trustees and volunteers attend training seminars and networks to acquire knowledge, skills and a greater understanding relating to learning in museums.
c. All data, particularly personal data that is used for evaluation is collected and stored ethically and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018.
d. Contributions from subject matter experts and audiences which is collected during consultation and evaluation is valued and incorporated into the museum interpretation where possible.
e. Policies, plans and best practice is reviewed on a regular basis and updated in line with legislative changes and audience feedback.