Creating accessible story-led displays

We want everyone to enjoy the new story-led displays, so we have designed them with accessibility in mind. Our focus includes standards for font sizes, contrast levels, viewing heights, use of Plain English, and ensuring all videos feature British Sign Language (BSL) and captions.

Some displays go even further by focusing on visitors with specific impairments with the provision of specific interpretation. These include tactiles, audio descriptions, and audio shows. One special BSL film highlights a Ferguslie Toilet from Paisley’s Ferguslie Fireclay Works in the early 1900s. Flushing Toilets and improved public sanitation were a crucial element in combating Paisley’s cholera epidemic.

When museums do include BSL, it is usually added at the end of the film making process creating a translation from one language to another. Instead we have decided to make this film BSL first. We chose to film in an ‘Edwardian shopping channel’ style, adding humour and showcasing the toilet’s

features. The film was written and performed natively in BSL with deaf actors. We collaborated with local BSL consultants, Historical Adventures who advised on language, filming, Deaf etiquette, interpreters and sourcing the actors.

Craig McCulloch, an independent theatre maker, and Benedetta Zanetti, a director & performer, brought the script to life following a briefing from Paisley Museum’s Science Curator. Filming took place in Paisley’s Secret Collection, featuring the actual toilet. The actors, dressed in Edwardian costume, were filmed against a green screen by our production company, Freak Works.

Craig and Benny’s fantastic performance was combined with a graphical shopping channel background, following Paisley Museum’s house style. A BSL interpreter will translate their performance back into English for a voiceover and the film will also have captions.

You will find this film next to the Ferguslie Toilet display which is appropriately situated next to one of Paisley Museum’s many new toilets.

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