5 Mar - 5 Feb 2023
10:00-12:00 (Quiet space open until 12:30)
National Museum of Scotland
Join us for our monthly Relaxed Morning for anyone who would appreciate a calmer visit to the museum.
Friendly staff will be there to give you a warm welcome and support your visit, as you explore some areas of the museum without noisy interactives and videos to give a more relaxed environment.
This session is primarily for, but not limited to, families with autistic children; autistic young people and adults; adults living with dementia; adults and children with mental health problems; and any other visitors with sensory needs or who may prefer a more relaxed experience, plus their families, friends and carers.
The Relaxed Morning includes access to the entirety of the museum currently open to the public. In 2023, we are also offering Relaxed Viewings of our special exhibition Doctor Who: World of Wonders on selected dates, including an after-hours event. More information about these is available here.
At 12:00 sound will be switched back on, but visitors to this session are welcome to remain in the museum for as long as they like. A quiet space will be available in the Level 2 Events Space from 10:00-12:30, please speak to a member of staff for directions.
Please note the Millennium clock will sound at 11:00 and 12:00.
The next Relaxed Morning
Sunday 5 March
National Museum of Scotland
2023 Relaxed Morning dates
- Sunday 5 March (includes a Relaxed Viewing of Doctor Who - exhibition costs apply)
- Thursday 13 April (also includes an early doors opening for Edinburgh Science Festival activities, click here for more details about the Experimental Life Relaxed Opening)
- Sunday 7 May
- Sunday 4 June
Download a visual story designed to support a visit to Doctor Who Worlds of Wonder.
What does ‘relaxed’ mean?
‘Relaxed’ means the following changes will be made and additional resources offered:
- Where possible, loud sounds from audiovisual displays, interactives and films will be reduced or switched off.
- Our well-trained Visitor Experience team and other staff will be available to answer questions and support your visit – we’ll be looking out for sunflower lanyards too.
- Some sensory backpacks are available for children to borrow to enhance their visit.
- A Sensory Map of the museum is available to help you learn about sound levels, lighting levels, tactile opportunities and which galleries are more/less crowded.
- Signage around the museum, alerting visitors to the time slot being a ‘relaxed’ session, and signposting noisier and busier galleries that cannot be adapted.
- A quiet space will be available
Please note there are some sounds we are unable to change:
- The Millennium clock will sound at 11:00 and 12:00
- The audio-visuals in the Science and Technology galleries
Planning and preparing for your visit
- We suggest entering the museum through the Tower Entrance as this is usually a quieter space and staff will be there to welcome you.
- Download a visual story of the museum to help you familiarise yourself with the galleries.
- Download a PDF of the Sensory Map to help you plan your route around the museum (physical copies are also available at the museum).
- You can also tour the National Museum of Scotland on Google StreetView.
Please be aware that this opening takes place during regular museum hours so we are unable to promise reduced numbers, but first thing on a Sunday morning tends to be a quieter time. However, some areas may get busy and loud with excited visitors. Our Sensory Map can help identify areas of the museum that are usually less busy and we will have signs outside particularly noisy galleries.
Find out more about accessibility at the National Museum of Scotland.
What is a Relaxed Morning?
During a Relaxed Morning we hope to create a calmer atmosphere in which to explore our galleries. Where possible, we will reduce/turn off gallery noise levels and we will aim to create a supportive and welcoming atmosphere for those with sensory needs and their families, friends and carers. Please note these adaptations occur during regular opening hours so all visitors are welcome.
Why is the museum offering Relaxed Mornings?
We are committed to supporting all visitors to access our collections and enjoy visiting us. Based on feedback we have received from autistic visitors, we are offering Relaxed Mornings once a month, providing an environment that supports the needs of autistic visitors and those with other sensory needs.
Why has the museum switched off the audiovisual content?
We have received feedback from autistic visitors who told us that they struggled to visit due to sensory overload from multiple devices playing sound. In some cases, we are unable to only switch off the sound, so to reduce the noise we have completely switched off audiovisuals. They will be switched on again at 12:00.
Why are some of the galleries so dark?
Due to the fragile nature of some of our collections, we have to keep lighting levels low in some areas in order to protect them. Our sensory map can help you identify darker and lighter galleries and torches are available to borrow at the Museum information desks if this would help improve your experience.
Why are the events in the morning and not the afternoon?
As the museum doesn’t offer timed slots, we have found that the museum is generally quieter first thing in the morning before crowds build up.
Why have some areas not changed but instead have signage to warn visitors about noise?
We have three spaces in the museum that are highly interactive, with multiple noisy devices and videos playing. Unfortunately, it is impossible to remove sound from these spaces. The best approach was to highlight these areas as ones with potential noise so that visitors can choose to avoid them or wear ear defenders.
Where can I go if I am experiencing sensory overload?
During relaxed mornings, we will provide a separate quiet space for those experiencing sensory overload. Staff will be able to provide directions/information about this on the day. Our sensory map also highlights quieter areas in the museum galleries and staff can support people to find these.
How can I provide feedback on my experience of a Relaxed Morning?
We are always keen to hear from visitors about their visit. We have just started Relaxed Mornings and will continue to adapt our offer as best we can from the feedback we receive. We have feedback cards with questions about your visit at our Relaxed Morning and would appreciate you taking the time to complete them. Or you can email any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to stay for the whole morning?
The relaxed morning is an open session so please arrive and leave whenever you want. However, we will only be offering reduced sound levels between 10:00 and 12:00. You can continue to use borrowed resources (e.g. sensory backpacks and maps) after this time.