The five attractions, including historic Barley Hall, off Stonegate, DIG – Archaeological Adventure on St Saviourgate and, of course, the world-famous JORVIK Viking Centre, will be offering visitors a specially-designed, low-arousal experience tailored to the needs of families and individuals visiting during Autism Hour. This will include turning down the ambient noise across the sites and more specific changes at sites, like JORVIK, with the famous smells of the ride experience being toned down so they are not as strong.
“With the re-imagining of JORVIK we looked very closely at access and made it a key focus in the planning and delivery of the new experience. We aim to make sure that all our visitors, no matter their challenges, are able to enjoy and experience the rich heritage of York with us. This is why we’ve recently introduced a ‘traffic light’ system where visitors who find interactions difficult are able to tell us how they want us to engage with them using the colours of the traffic lights. It is these subtle actions that enable our visitors to enjoy the JORVIK experience as they wish to.”
Commented Natalie Turner, Senior Visitor Services Manager at The JORVIK Group and one of the key people involved in offering accessible experiences at the attractions.
Indeed, it is this ethos that has driven the group to support the National Autistic Society’s upcoming ‘Autism Hour’ campaign in October, where they are encouraging businesses to put one hour out of one day in the month towards offering a quiet space or low-arousal experience to help highlight their ‘Too Much Information’ campaign.
“Any work we can do to improve access is always rewarding, especially when you are sent feedback to say it has helped people enjoy their visit. Being part of Autism Hour will help raise awareness of Autism and hopefully create more understanding to those who don’t face the same challenges.”
The JORVIK Group’s Autism Hour will take place at each of their sites from 4pm on Friday 6th October. Pre-booking is recommended but not essential.