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SPRI logoScott Polar Research Institute

Department of Geography, University of Cambridge


Accessibility at the Polar Museum

Accessibility at the Polar Museum

We will be happy to help make your visit as enjoyable as we can.

If you have any accessibility requirements, please let us know before your visit. We can offer one to one guiding but this will need to be booked in advance.

We're pleased to announce that work to install our permanent visitor access ramp has begun. Though the temporary visitor access ramp is still accessible to all visitors, there may be some noise and disruption whilst entering the Institute and Polar Museum.

Opening hours

The Polar Museum is open from 10:00am-4:00pm from Tuesday to Saturday (and Bank Holidays) and 12:00-4:00pm on Sundays. Admission to the Museum is free and all are welcome.

We are closed on Mondays (except Bank Holiday Mondays) and the period between Christmas and New Year. If you are making a special trip, we advise checking opening times beforehand by contacting the Museum.

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.

Free accessible parking 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 also 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 roughly a 10 minute 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 and 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 avaliable using a ramp which is accessible via the Institute car park located to the right of the building. To reach this side entrance, turn right inside the gates, and follow the paved path through the sculpture garden and around to the left, along the right side of the building. The ramp is tucked in beside a life-size replica of the James Caird (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 have torches and magnifying sheets to assist with viewing. 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. Please ask at the Museum front desk if you would like to use any of these resources during your visit.

The Museum has one fully-accessible toilet.

Before your visit

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.

We also have 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.