A ‘story to journey to smart map’ approach to enhance museum accessibility

Xi Wang

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Storytelling is widely used for enhancing learning, generating emotional engagement, and inspiring imagination; it is also a way to connect to one’s personal and collective experiences. Stories are powerful tools for social inclusion and enhanced visitor experience, especially in the contexts of museums and heritage sites. This paper presents a ‘story to journey to smart map’ (SJSM) approach to enhance museum accessibility and emotional engagement for blind and partially sighted (BPS) visitors. The SJSM approach is to present the ‘story’ of museum resources and knowledge as a journey, and then represent this journey physically as a smart map. This SJSM approach is applied through the creation of a smart map for BPS visitors. Made in partnership with Titanic Belfast, a world-leading tourist attraction, and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), the interactive map tells the story of Titanic’s maiden voyage. The smart map uses low-cost technologies such as laser-cut map features and software-controlled multi-function buttons for the audio description (AD). The AD is enhanced with background effects, dramatized personal stories and the ship’s last messages. To further evaluate this approach, a reception study was held with a group of BPS participants. A tactile self-assessment manikin was used for BPS participants to self-report their emotional responses at each location during their exploration of the map; and a questionnaire was completed afterwards. To conclude, the SJSM approach enhances museum accessibility and emotional engagement for BPS visitors and has its potential for universal access.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2021
Event14th International Conference on the Inclusive Museum: What Museums Post Pandemic? - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 8 Sept 202110 Sept 2021


Conference14th International Conference on the Inclusive Museum

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