Talking museum

Weary girl in 'Hoeing the Fields' by W M Brown

Detail from ‘Hoeing the Fields’ by WM Brown

The John Gray Centre team got together with a team of volunteers from our local University of the Third Age (U3A) history and archaeology groups to create an audio experience of the museum exhibition. This has been developed with visually impaired people in mind, but is also enjoyable for general visitors. You can enjoy it online, or pop in to the museum and pick up a handset for your very own personal guided tour.

We have not only described the exhibition, but the volunteers also expanded on the objects and the stories behind them a bit more. The guide is read by the volunteers themselves.

'The Young Mussel Gatherers', by W M Brown

‘The Young Mussel Gatherers’, by W M Brown

A hugely helpful group of visually impaired volunteers helped us trial the scripts, which had been informally recorded by Helen (Heritage Resources Development Officer at the JGC), and gave us valuable feedback on how to improve the guides before finalising the scripts and doing the official recording.

We would like to thank:

U3A volunteers

  • Graeme Bettison (fishing displays)
  • Oddfellows Apron

    Oddfellows Apron

    Annie Rayner (farming display, and reader of our first description, ‘Hoeing the Fields’)

  • Sylvia Fraser (‘medieval trades of Haddington’, and reader of ‘Message in a Bottle’ description)
  • Kathy Fairweather (researcher for the ‘friendly societies’ display and writer of the ‘East Lothian timelines’ and ‘message in a bottle’ displays)
  • Irene Hopkins (writer of the ‘East Lothian industries’ description)

 Personal View case curators

  • Clearing the snow off a curling pond

    Clearing snow off a curling pond

    David Affleck (curling display, and reader of the ‘Nova Spero’ painting description)

  • Arran Johnston (Battle of Prestonpans display, and reader of the timelines description)
  • Nigel ‘Kenny’ Kenworthy (Lothian & Borders Horse display)
  • Claire Pannell (VAD Nurse Annie Young display)

Other development volunteers

  • Christina Dougan (East Lothian Messenger reader, and reader of
    Prestongrange bricks

    Prestongrange bricks

    the ‘East Lothian industries’ and ‘Nurse Annie Young’ descriptions) 

  • Maureen Shields (museums volunteer, writer and reader of the ‘friendly societies’ and ‘friendly societies banner’ descriptions)
  • Jillian Galbraith (museums volunteer, reader of the navigation guidelines)

Visually impaired volunteers and advisors

  • Anne Dignan (artist, main consultant and inspiration of the project)
    Bill, Tony and Ron from Fidra House

    Bill, Tony and Ron from Fidra House

  • David Keenan
  • Gillian Henderson
  • Ken Reid
  • Jodie Renton
  • Kacey and support teacher Janet Ferguson
  • Margaret Brunton, with her husband Tom
  • Bill with his support assistant Tony and befriender Ron, from Fidra House, with their Activities Coordinator Helen Turner

Professional support

'The Nova Spero', by John Bellany

‘The Nova Spero’, by John Bellany

  • Emily Learmont (artist and guide for visually impaired tours at the National Galleries of Scotland, who trained and advised us, and also wrote the descriptions for the paintings ‘Hoeing the Fields’ and ‘The Nova Spero’)
  • Clare McIntosh (creator of handling objects, replica costumes and leader of our creative workshops for visually impaired people)
  • Kathleen Little (, multimedia artist, who recorded the finished audio guide)

Other pages about the project

Talking museum audio guide scripts, with audio, links and images
Talking museum introduction and audio guide, with audio and thumbnail images only
Blog about related activities at the JGC in 2013
Introduction to the main exhibition at the John Gray Centre

3 thoughts on “Talking museum”

  1. Helen Bleck says:

    Hi – I just tried clicking on the links at the end of the page (‘Other pages about the project’) and none of them work – have the URLs been changed/moved since these links were first created?

    1. HanitaR says:

      Hi Helen,
      Thanks for pointing this out. We are in the process of updating links. Hopefully, these will be sorted out soon. Cheers!

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