Portsmouth Dockyard - Part 7 (Explosion Museum)

June 22, 2019

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On the 14 June, I visited the Explosion Museum. Like the Submarine Museum, Explosion is based in Gosport, but it is a part of the Portsmouth Historical Dockyards.


In the Explosion Museum itself, there were lots of different sections. Explosion was great in the sense that there was a lot of space to manoeuvre.


In most of the rooms, the information boards were at a good height for me to read. However, most of them were a dark green colour with white writing, which made it difficult for me to read. I feel that these choices of colours isn't good because I understand that this could affect some people's ability to see the signs as I think the common colour blindness is red-green. The white text on dark backgrounds is fine, but I would suggest making the background a different colour. I know why they have done it this way; I think it works well with the museum's scheme, but I don't think that it's very easy to read at all.


A lot of the interactive screens and speakers in Explosion were not working, which was disappointing. Most of the screens were blank, and had nothing on.


I went into a room which had lots of lockers. You could open these lockers to see what was inside them. In some lockers, there were buttons that you have to press in order to hear sound coming from the speaker above. These buttons were a bit high for me to be able to press. It would be good if there were bigger buttons at different heights, all with the same function because I find it difficult to use my hands, so I would find it easier if I could press buttons with my feet. This would also help other people who can't reach the higher buttons. However, I know that some people can't press buttons at all, so it might be a good idea if the people who work at Explosion could add a sensor to play the sound when the doors are open. If they did this, I would suggest making the doors automatic as well.


There was a life-size model of an air raid shelter. On the floor in front of it, there was a green box with what looked like an information sheet on top of it. I couldn't read this because I could not get close enough. I think that this could be improved by making the text bigger and putting the sheet up on a stand about the height of the grey barrier post.


When I was looking in the different rooms in the Explosion Museum, I came across a section that was extremely atmospheric. It represented being under the sea, and because of this, it was really dark. I quite liked this, apart from that it was almost impossible for me to read the information boards. To improve this, I would suggest having small spot lights shining onto the information boards to light them up. I wouldn't suggest lighting up the whole room because I think this would ruin the effect, but there definitely needs to be something to light these boards up. It was also a bit loud, but I'm not sure why. There was a funny smell in there too; again I don't know why. For me, it was manageable, but other people may not be able to handle it.


In another section of the Explosion museum, there was an interactive screen which you can play a quiz on. There were some speakers with the screen, but they seemed to be broken as well because there was no sound coming out of them. The screen was working, but it wasn't very touch-sensitive, so you had to press it a few times for it to register. I also struggled to read the text on the screen because the quiz was timed. When I read things, I have to take my time because if I try to read things fast, my eyes can't cope and they go fuzzy due to the muscles not working properly. To improve this, I would suggest getting the speakers fixed so that the quiz can be read aloud. This would also help people who have visual impairments.


There was a physical activity to see if you have 'sea legs'. This was a machine that spins you around, and it goes up and down while you're on it. By 'sea legs', I'm guessing it means that you feel like you are on a boat or ship and your legs feel wobbly. It looked like there was enough room for a small wheelchair or walking frame, but unfortunately there was no ramp for me to get up, and therefore it was not accessible. Someone with a large wheelchair or walking frame may not be able to get onto it. I think that it would be quite easy to install a ramp here. The ramp could go anywhere around the outside really.


In another section, there was a projector and a screen. I didn't know what the projection was because the picture was extremely bad quality. I think the projector was knackered... Even though some people with on how much they can see. I don't think that there was any sound to this either, which makes it even more inaccessible to those with visual impairments. To improve this attraction, I would suggest trying to amend the quality of the image, and maybe adding sound as well.


In another part of the museum, there was a map and some information. Some of the information was written on a light grey background, and the text was white. Again, in my opinion, these choices of colours is not very good because the contrast of the white text on the light grey background makes it very difficult to read. Another issue with this is that to hear the sound, you have to hold the phone receiver up to your ear. There are two minor problems with this: one is the fact that I can't hold the phone receiver up to my ear, and the other drawback is that I find it difficult to keep my head still. I couldn't really hear much of what was being said because I couldn't keep my ear on the phone.


Further on, there was a desk with diagrams of different bullets. The diagrams were labelled with the word “discharge”, this was to the right of each diagram, written sideways. I have no idea what this means. Anyway, there is a more specific reason as to why I'm talking about this attraction; underneath the diagrams, there was a bullet on a long track. The bullet moved along the track, but it was really stiff to move. First of all, I would suggest putting something on the bullet or track to try and help it move easier. Secondly, as there was no information about this attraction that I saw, I didn't know what it was meant to represent. With that in mind, I think it needs something to say what it is and what it's for. Although I have said this, I still think that this attraction may not be accessible to everyone because some people may not be able to use their hands at all, but I don't know how they could improve this.


Right near the end of the exhibits in the Explosion museum, there was a section about the air crafts and the bombs that they used in the wars. Some of the information boards were placed on the walls, and most of them were at an awkward angle, meaning that I couldn't read them at all. There was also another screen, which appeared to be broken in this section.


I had been here before, when I was younger, and I remember enjoying it. However, overall, I was disappointed with Explosion this time. One area was closed because they were making improvements, which is good. I am hopeful that it can be improved.

There is going to be one last post in this blog series, so stay tuned for that! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have enjoyed it.

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