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Accessibility at the Polar Museum

Accessibility at the Polar Museum

Opening hours

The Polar Museum is currently open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10:00-16:00.

The Polar Museum is closed on all Bank Holidays, including Good Friday (29th March 2024).

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Getting here

The Museum is located on Lensfield Road, close to the centre of Cambridge, and occupies the ground floor of the Scott Polar Research Institute. 

A free accessible parking space is available for visitors with disabilities in the Scott Polar Research Institute’s car park, via an entrance barrier. Please contact us to book this space in advance.

Alternatively, roadside parking outside the Museum is free for Blue Badge holders.

Buses Citi 1, 3, 7, 13 and 132 and the Babraham Road Park and Ride bus all stop in Station Road, just around the corner from Lensfield Road.

The Museum is a 1km / 0.75 mile mile walk from the railway station. Please be aware that the pavement is along a busy main road which is heavily used by cars, buses and cyclists so can be very noisy. There are several Pelican Crossings located along the way which can become crowded.

Once on Lensfield Road, there is a pair of black gates which welcome you into a small sculpture garden in front of the building. To the left is a bronze sculpture of a nude man and to the right a bronze sculpture of a husky. A few metres forward from the gates, directly in front of the main entrance, is a stone platform, stepped on three sides with three steps, leading to the wooden entrance doors. Each set of steps has a pair of chrome handrails.

Alternatively, there is step-free access available using a ramp which is accessible via our car park, located to the right hand side of the Polar Museum's main entrance. To reach this side entrance, turn right inside the gates, and follow the paved path down the right side of the building, through the side sculpture garden. The ramp curves around the outside of the building near to the life-size replica of the James Caird (Sir Ernest Shackleton’s lifeboat) and our disabled car parking space.

Inside the Museum entrance

When entering via the main entrance you will step into a bright hall with slate paved flooring and two painted domes. The glass door on the right hand side will open automatically as you approach, sliding from right to left. The front desk is through this door and to your immediate right. Please let our volunteers know if you require any further access support during your visit.

Please be aware that, due to the fragile nature of our collections, our objects on display are kept behind glass. Though, we do have torches and magnifying sheets to assist with viewing which our volunteers will be more than happy to provide you with. We also have a handling collection which includes replicas of objects from our collection, a booklet of tactile drawings based upon photographs taken on the Shackleton expeditions to the Antarctic, tactile drawings of the James Caird, a tactile copy of The Polar Museum floor plan and large tactile maps of the Arctic and Antarctic. To avoid disappointment, please contact us in advance if you would like to access these materials during your visit.

The Museum has one fully-accessible toilet at the back of our temporary gallery.

Before your visit

If you have any special accessibility requirements, please feel free to contact us about how we can make your visit more enjoyable. We will be happy to make arrangements to accommodate you.

You may wish to listen to this short audio description which gives you more information about the museum and the layout of the building. Copies of the below audio file will also be available from the Museum front desk operated through an audio handset. You may also wish to look at our  floor plan of the Polar Museum prior to your visit.

There are also 10 audio descriptions of objects from our Shackleton collection. Most of which are currently on display, and if you would like to be directed to a specific object during your visit please ask at the front desk and our volunteers will be happy to guide you to it. Again, these descriptions will also be available from the Museum front desk operated through an audio handset.

You can also find 3 short films about objects from the Shackleton collections on our website, which provide further information about Shackleton, the expeditions he went on, and his relationships with people around him. All are subtitled.

You can read our Visual Story for the Polar Museum, which offers pictures and information about what you can expect during your visit.

We welcome any feedback on the access resources available and especially if you feel there is anything more we can do to make your visit as enjoyable as possible.