An Audio Guide to the Museum
16 September 2020

As Steyning Museum reopens its doors to the public, we are pleased to launch our new 'audio guide’. To mitigate the risk of viral infection our visitors can use their own mobile smartphones (Apple or Android) and be guided around the museum by text or the voices of our volunteers. There is no 'app’ to be downloaded and no 'phone charges or other fees to incur. Visitors connect to our wifi network on arrival at the museum and use their device’s camera app to scan the QR codes that we have placed around the museum. Their experience of our interesting and varied exhibits will be greatly enhanced by this innovation. Steyning Museum reopens on Wednesday 16th September at 10am.

During the period of enforced closure we thought about what changes would need to be made in the museum before we would be able to open again safely. The laminated handouts were obviously a potential mechanism for transmitting the virus. In addition, they were quite dated and needed extensive revision anyway, so it was thought best to 'retire’ them. Also, some visitors might be reluctant to use the handsets on our 'listening posts’ (although these will be regularly sanitised) and therefore unable to access our oral histories. So we came up with the idea to implement an audio guide that visitors would be able to access with their own mobile smartphones. After several months of development we have the first version of our system ready for use.

Rather than attempt to cover the whole museum in depth we have identified around 20 key exhibits in the museum and provided a bit more background information about them. The scripts have been written by one of the museum’s volunteers and for the most part the voices heard are also volunteers (although one piece is narrated by a professional actor!) In addition the curator of the current 'Toy Theatre’ exhibition talks about what inspired his interest in the subject and Steyning’s self-proclaimed 'poet laureate’ (Simon Zec) appears in a video-piece reading one of his poems written during the 'lockdown’ period.

The audio guide will work with any reasonably recent smartphone or tablet device whether Apple or Android. We encourage the use of earphones to minimise disturbance to other visitors.

Here is a sample page from the guide:



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8 June 2020