* This post is for informational and educational purposes and is based on personal experience. I received no payment or any other compensation for this post.
My son and I attended the relaxed opening at The National Museum of Computing on 17th February (located on the Bletchley Park estate, Milton Keynes). You can download a sensory map and visual story on their website’s accessibility page before your arrival.
My son enjoys playing computer games, so it was great to be able to show him the history of computers, and some of the games that I played back in the day.
On arrival at the museum, we were directed over to the Block H car park by a friendly staff member.
There was a continuity of friendliness throughout our visit with staff being approachable and considerate of our needs. There is free entry to the museum for carers with a disabled visitor. They also offered a sensory backpack with ear defenders (which my son did not want).
We started off our visit in the Microsoft Hub, where they were running a workshop on accessible software and tools. I learnt a lot about the immersive reader, which includes a picture dictionary and helps break down the text into smaller chunks. Drawing and creating 3D objects using Paint 3D was my son’s favourite part.
Games and Simulation Gallery
Of course, we had to go into the Games and Simulation Gallery, where I watched my son play Sonic the Hedgehog, and the Sega Crazy Taxi arcade game.
We spent some time in the BBC Classroom where first I was excited to see a 3d printer.
My son got to experience playing space invaders on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) microcomputer.
He couldn’t believe how long the game took to load. (ah, the days when you used a floppy disc)
Robotic Controlled Ball
Over in the library area, there was a Lego racetrack. My son had a controller for the robotic controlled ball, where he adjusted the speed (to high).
I thought that he wanted to complete the track, but he had another idea in mind. He was looking to knock over Mario. (poor Mario)
We headed to the NATS (National Air Traffic Control) Gallery where we looked at the history of air traffic control, including seeing the tower simulator.
We finished our tour in the PC Gallery where my son gazed at the Commodore VC 20, the Macintosh SE (with the Shufflepuck Café game onscreen) and the classic Atari 520 ST with the joystick. (who remembers any of these PCs?)