Sensory Journeys

School project
Key Stages 1-4

Supported by The Lord Leonard and Lady Estelle Wolfson Foundation

Sensory Journeys is part of a three year initiative funded by the Wolfson Foundation to explore the impact of new approaches to museum engagement with SEN students. The project aims to support SEN audiences to find meaningful connections with the British Museum’s collection and with the stories it tells in a way that is relevant to them – exploring the museum’s environment and collections through touch, sight, hearing and smell.

Sensory Journeys is a programme of four linked workshops. Each one begins with a sensory story about the sights, sounds and smells encountered on a Museum visit. This is followed by activities which focus on one of the senses: students might create a textured picture of the Museum, make a musical instrument or explore light with torches, mirrors and glow balls. All the ideas and experiences generated during this session are explored further in one of the Museum galleries with opportunity for movement, surprise and playful exploration.

The first year of Sensory Journeys has been highly successful, with students showing excitement about participation in the project. Students engaged with the activities and responded positively to the opportunities to develop their communication skills with a wide range of people, including Museum security staff, the Visitor Services team, volunteers on the object handling desks, Museum educators and the visiting public. By the end of each project, the students’ confidence in engaging with the Museum has noticeably improved.

We look forward to Year 2 of the project when we plan to draw creative responses to the Museum environment into the project.

SEN student exploring sound.
  • 1

    Exploring sound in the Clocks and Watches gallery.

  • 2

    Thinking about the different people who visit a Museum and their facial expressions.

  • 2

    Responding to the sights, sounds and smell of orange.

  • 2

    Hidden mystery objects uncovered from beneath the layers of tissue paper.

  • 2

    Working with objects which offer opportunities to respond using sight, sound and touch.

  • 2

    Creating high and low pitches sounds.

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Access and SEN 
Inclusive learning opportunities for all young visitors: our SEN advice, resources and workshops.