The Coffin Works is committed to ensuring that all aspects of its activities are fully accessible to all sectors of the community by removing or reducing any physical, sensory or intellectual barriers to access.
Collections Access Policy for the Coffin Works
Creation date: June 2020
Creators: Museum Manager and Head of Coffin Works’ Committee
Review date: June 2023
Reviewers: Museum Manager and Coffin Works’ Committee
Mission statement of Birmingham Conservation Trust
Returning historic buildings to a place in people’s lives. We believe that sharing the past creates a sense of community and identity today. We will use our roots in the industrial and manufacturing history of the Jewellery Quarter and our links to its contemporary communities and partnerships to engage and involve people in the long-term development of Newman Brothers situated at Newman Brothers.
Newman Brothers at The Coffin Works (hereafter referred to as the Coffin Works) is committed to ensuring that all aspects of its activities are fully accessible to all sectors of the community by removing or reducing any physical, sensory or intellectual barriers to access.
It is our policy to facilitate access to the museum and its collections for all our visitors and staff physically, intellectually and electronically, where possible.
The placing of a substantial proportion of the collections on the museum’s website is an on-going project and is subject to securing funding, but we recognise the importance of, and are committed to, developing our online collections, thereby constantly improving access to the museum for users nationally and internationally.
Our commitment to access can be broken down into the following groups as summarised below.
The Coffin Works is committed to providing ways to enable both visitors and staff to achieve full physical, intellectual and sensory access to its collections. It will do this by ensuring that its entrances and public areas such as the courtyard and facilities, are always physically accessible and that visiting procedures for access and entry to the heritage attraction, research collections and on-site learning activities are clearly advertised. Integral to ensuring continued physical access to collections is maintenance of the museum lift to guarantee that it is in constant working order, thereby providing access to spaces that would otherwise be inaccessible to some visitors.
The Coffin Works is committed to developing and publicising programmes and activities that will introduce children and adults with learning difficulties, including Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) to the Museum, to its collections and facilities.
In addition all staff and volunteers will receive training in how to address disability access issues to ensure that tour guides, in particular, are aware of how to support visitors with access needs. This will include wheelchair users and people with visual and hearing impairments and/or learning difficulties. The main purpose here is to ensure that tours are tailored around the needs of visitors with physical, learning and sensory access issues, and our Front of House team are aware of the importance of being inclusive.
Staff and volunteers will also receive training around issues of bereavement to ensure that they are prepared for emotional responses which may arise as a result of their access to the museum’s collections and themes.
A core duty of Birmingham Conservation Trust is to safeguard our collections while providing reasonable access to them for the study and enjoyment of all visitors. Members of our Front of House team will be available at all times when visitors are in heritage spaces to supervise the handling of objects. It is intended that this approach strikes a balance between providing a unique opportunity to handle objects, whilst guaranteeing their safety in order to preserve them for future generations.
A handling collection will be selected which is suitable for use with schools and community groups on–site. This may include objects for loan. The Collections & Exhibitions Manager, in partnership with the Learning Manager, will regularly review the contents of handling boxes to ensure that objects develop access to new subject areas and curricular links covered in the collection. All loans boxes will contain an inventory of items to mitigate any potential loss of objects.
The Coffin Works is committed to ‘layering’ its interpretation through diverse means that offers an overall sensory experience. This includes providing objects that can be handled, information that can be heard such as atmospheric sound bites played around the museum, audio-visual material in the form of film and iPad tours, to oral presentations of the historic interpretation of the site by tour guides.
The core collection at The Coffin Works may only be accessed by special arrangement and for research purposes only. These arrangements will be made through the Collections & Exhibitions Manager, for as long as the post exists, and there after by a member of BCT staff or Board of Trustees. Access will be supervised at all times. At the discretion of the Collections & Exhibitions Manager, core collection objects may be used to facilitate access to information on special event days and heritage events providing the security of the object can be guaranteed.
In line with our Data Protection policy, research access to any items in the core collection which contain sensitive personal information about identifiable individuals, created within the 100 years preceding the request to view it, will be restricted. Applications to view such material should be made through the Collections & Exhibitions Manager, for as long as the post exists, and there after by a member of BCT staff or Board of Trustees.
The Coffin Works will work towards providing intellectual interpretation of its collection in languages that will meet the widest variety of needs, including British Sign Language and, where appropriate, audio description, Braille and community languages. This project will be carried out once The Coffin Works is operational, and we are able to gather greater information about visitor demographics and needs, both nationally and internationally.
Staff and volunteers are to be trained to ensure safe evacuation of all visitors in the event of an emergency. On each floor of The Coffin Works Museum is a refuge, or a temporary holding area, which wheelchair users can use as interim shelter until Fire and Rescue arrive on site. It is therefore imperative that all members of staff and volunteers are trained in disability-evacuation procedures, as well as standard evacuation protocols.
Also linked to the above is the procedure for the Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in connection to the salvage of specified collections, if safe to do so. Please refer to the ERP for further details outlining procedures of salvage and movement.
An accessible museum
It is very important to us that all our visitors have an enjoyable and comfortable visit to the Coffin Works. Head to our ‘Access’ page for more details on how we do this.