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Soundscapes welcome visitors to city’s museums

Published on Wednesday, March 29, 2023

2 minute read

Visitor using the sound unit at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery

VISITORS to two Leicester museums will be able to lose themselves in a new immersive sound experience aimed at promoting mental health and wellbeing.

Newly-installed sensory units at Abbey Pumping Station and Leicester Museum and Art Gallery give visitors a chance to tune into an array of meditative soundscapes and prompts helping them to relax and savour their surroundings.

At Abbey Pumping Station, a solar-powered installation in the Forget-Me-Not dementia-friendly sensory garden provides a choice of relaxing birdsong or sounds evoking the site’s industrial past.

Leicester Museum and Art Gallery’s mobile installation encourages listeners to pause for thought, relax and immerse themselves in the venue’s inspiring collections.

Both sensory units, which are funded by the Arts Council England, are free for all museum visitors to use.

They are the result of collaborations between the city council and professionals and community groups to co-produce new gallery experiences.

Leicester City Council’s head of arts and museums, Joanna Jones, said: “Museums can be places of reflection, relaxation and inspiration for many people, and these sound posts are designed to immerse visitors in a sensory sound experience to inspire interest in the collections and generally to help improve wellbeing.

“At Abbey Pumping Station, we’ve installed a solar-powered audio post in the dementia-friendly sensory Forget-Me-Not Garden, while at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, we’re providing a sound unit for visitors to enjoy through headphones.

“In each case, it’s about creating a space where people can pause for thought and enjoy the meditative soundtracks on offer.”

Leicester Museums and Galleries is an Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation.

The Immersion in Sound project is part of the museum’s Health and Wellbeing work programme, funded by ACE, one priority of which is to encourage more residents to improve their wellbeing through engagement with museum collections and the arts.

Arts organisation Whispered Tales Ltd was commissioned to create the sound content for the installations, which was developed in conjunction with contributors from The Carers Centre Leicestershire and Rutland, museums studies students from the University of Leicester, the Y – Heritage Youth Forum and both staff and volunteers from the city council’s museums.

Local partners Creative Good Ltd and Door 6 Ltd (formerly Antomic Woodworking) were also involved in designing the sound units to be user-friendly and accessible.

Details of all events and exhibitions at Leicester’s museums are available here