The Brickworks Museum in Bursledon has gained Makaton Friendly status, making it the first museum in the south-east to achieve the accolade.
Throughout the winter months, while the museum has been shut to the public, staff and volunteers at the Brickworks have been training to learn how to use Makaton to welcome visitors. They have learned signs for Museum, Victorian, Brick, Train and Bus, and many others, in order to bring the exhibits and attractions of the site to life for the public.
Ros Keeble, one of Hampshire’s Regional Makaton Tutors, who supported the team in their training, says "I was delighted when I was contacted by the Brickworks Museum to work with them in their quest to become the first Makaton Friendly museum in the south-east. The enthusiasm for and engagement with Makaton by the staff and volunteers has left me in little doubt that Makaton users visiting the museum are sure of a warm welcome."
The drive to become Makaton Friendly came from the museum’s education team.
"We had a group visit us for an educational visit who were using Makaton," says Gemma Ingason, Education Officer for the Brickworks Museum. "We realised that we weren’t able to communicate with them, and bring our site to life for them, as well as if we used Makaton too. We decided to seek funding to make this a reality."
The training was funded by the South East Museums’ Development Programme. Jaane Rowehl, Museum Development Officer for the SEMDP says ‘It is great to see that the museum is taking a proactive lead, and through their new Makaton skills will make this outstanding historic site even more accessible. We look forward to working with the museum team on sharing their experience with other museums in the region.’
The Brickworks Museum, Britain’s only remaining Victorian steam powered brickworks, re-opens for the summer season on Wednesday 4th April. With new additions to the play area, a full programme of steam up events, and of course their new skill in using Makaton, there has never been a better time to visit, www.bursledonbrickworks.org.uk