Scottish museum searches for lift solution to make inaccessibility a thing of the past
A councillor in Aberdeenshire calling for funding to install a lift in a local museum has been rebuffed by council officials that have declared the introduction of a lift as “not financially feasible.”
Stephen Calder, councillor for Peterhead South and Cruden, a town in the North East of Scotland, is campaigning for the installation of a lift in the town’s Arbuthnot Museum, located in one of the town’s Victorian buildings.
John Harding, head of Live Life Aberdeenshire, the business unit of Aberdeenshire Council which runs museums and libraries, told the Press and Journal that lift options had been explored but had proved unfeasible due to the building’s design.
“We have explored a number of options including a stairlift, an internal lift and an external lift so far,” he said.
“None have been feasible due to the building design and available space but we are committed to ensuring the best use of the building.”
Currently, the museum is inaccessible for those with mobility needs, with the museum’s main exhibition space housed on the upper floor and only a limited “virtual tour” available on ground floor screens to those that are unable to negotiate the stairs.
The lack of accessibility prompted the local councillor to call for money to tackle the issue, however, Aberdeenshire Council responded that a lift would not be feasible financially.
Speaking to the Press and Journal, Stephen Calder said: “It’s not accessible to everyone and people don’t want to go to the building just for a virtual tour when they know the full exhibition is above them.
“I know from experience about the museum’s issues as before I had my hernias removed I couldn’t get up those stairs.
Now the Peterhead South and Cruden councillor has appealed for money from the Town Centre Fund to be used to finance the purchase and installation of the lift.
He added: “I was told it was not financially feasible but with this money it could be possible to put in some kind of lift or disabled access which would improve the historic building and let everyone enjoy Arbuthnot.”