Visiting with an Autistic child

The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) actively encourages all visitors to the Museum, including people on the autistic spectrum. We have prepared the following information to help you plan for your visit. We hope that it will help to make your time with us enjoyable and we look forward to seeing you.

Visual Story

We have prepared a Visual Story which is available for you to download or print off to create a Social Story for your child. This is a visual guide which will help your child to know what to expect and ease the anxiety which often accompanies a visit to somewhere new and unfamiliar. The Visual Story has been designed for you, the parent/carer, to decide which pages would be most beneficial for your individual circumstances. You can download the Visual Story here.

How do I get to MAA?

The Museum’s main entrance is on Downing Street and a map can be found on our Visit page. We do not have any parking facilities, but the Grand Arcade car park on Downing Street is a short walk from the Museum.

Alternatively, there are five Park & Ride sites on the outskirts of the city, all of which provide a frequent bus service into the city centre. The bus stops are all within a 5 minute walk of MAA.

Do you have a quieter entrance?

There are 2 entrances to the Museum. The main entrance is on Downing Street, which can sometimes be busy and have a lot of traffic. If your child requires a quieter entrance away from the traffic then come under the archway on Downing Street, into the Downing courtyard, where there is a second, quieter, entrance in the corner on the right.

Do you have wheelchair access?

Our entrance on Downing Street is accessible. There is a lift to all three floors and the toilet facilities are also wheelchair accessible.

Do you have family friendly toilet facilities which will enable me to accompany my child to the toilet?

We have disabled toilets and baby changing facilities in both the female and male toilets which are located on the 1st and 2nd floors.

Is it necessary to book our visit in advance?

Only groups need to book their visit in advance. Admission is free during our opening hours, which are Monday to Saturday 10:30 to 16:30, and Sunday 12:00 to 16:30.

If you are planning to visit with a group then please contact our Education team (education.bookings@maa.cam.ac.uk).  If a child in the group has special educational needs, then we would encourage you to make the Education team aware of any additional requirements.

When is MAA quieter?

The Museum can get very crowded and noisy during the summer months, especially after 12:00, and also during special events.

Weekday mornings during school holidays or afternoons during school term are usually slightly quieter.

Do you have a policy to deal with a situation should my child become distressed?

Our Front of House team are autism aware and we do understand that meltdowns are sometimes unavoidable and distressing for the child and their family. The Museum does not currently have a quiet space for moments of distress, however the Front of House team will be happy to assist in any way that they can.

Do you have somewhere that we could eat our own food?

MAA does not have a room that is suitable for eating in. In good weather you can sit outside in the courtyard. There are also a number of family friendly venues in Cambridge for lunch, although these are more crowded at the weekend and in summer.

Do you have family friendly activities?

We run a number of activities at different times throughout the year. Please refer to our Current Events page which is regularly updated. It is worth bearing in mind that these events are often very popular and busy.

Do you have autism friendly activities?

We do not currently run Early Birds Mornings or Evening Owls Events. However we hope to organise an autism friendly event to mark World Autism Awareness Week which runs during the last week of March and first week of April annually. Please check our Current Events Page for any updates.

Feedback

Please help us to improve how we operate by giving us feedback. If we have got something wrong, or you have some constructive advice, then we encourage you to tell us. If we have done well, then please let our Front Reception team know that they are doing a wonderful job.

We also encourage the feedback of your children. Their views are especially important and always welcome. Most of all we hope that you enjoy your time with us and that you return to see us again in the future.