People testing website. They are happy with the results.
Digital Accessibility, via

Accessibility is a human right. In the UK alone, 14.1 million people have a disability, and most of them acquired it as adults. This translates to 21 in every 100 people having some sort of disability [Scope].

In line with similar legislation around the world, the UK government passed the Equality Act in 2010. The 2010 Act includes legislation against disability discrimination. It protects individuals from unfair treatment and gives recommendations against unfair treatment. It protects against discrimination in the workplace; when providing goods, facilities and services; at public functions and premises; in education. And since 2018 this protection extends…

View of earth from space. Celebrating Earth Day 2021.
22 April 2021, Earth Day, picture via Wikimedia Commons

Today is Earth Day and Google has created a special doodle to encourage us to plant more trees. Sustainability and calls to prevent climate change are daily news. The 17 Sustainable Goals by the United Nations are the guide to all industries and the blueprint to a sustainable future for all [17 Sustainable Development Goals].

Heritage sites and attractions are at the forefront of this action. There are countless conferences, seminars, meetings dedicated to the subject of sustainability. But few are as to the point and full of insight as the Greenloop “Sustainability in Attractions” [Greenloop]. Lasting two days, there…

Honeycomb diagram showing the seven elements of online user experience.
Seven elements for a great online user experience, copyright Themis Chalvantzi-Stringer

Last week I was writing on the subject of branding for small museums and heritage sites. This week I’ll be looking at some simple steps museums and heritage sites can take to improve their websites’ user experience.

When thinking about a website, whether it is a brand new one or the revamping of an existing one, most people think in terms of design. What colours should be used? And by the way, no, grey on grey is not classy, it is unreadable. What typeface and fonts? Should there be pictures, videos, animation? What website design platform is best? Etc.


Diagram showing the five components of branding
Branding components, copyright Themis Chalvantzi-Stringer

The whole world is striving to get back to some kind of pre-covid normality. In the UK everyone is waiting for April 12, when shops, restaurants and pubs, cafes, and the much-awaited hairdressers can re-open. Museums and heritage sites though find themselves in the strange position of being able to open their in-house shops to the public, but not their galleries. They will have to wait until May 17, the golden date when they can officially re-open their doors. This paradox is an example of how interconnected the heritage world is with the world of business [Chaney].

The most important…

A gallery room with paintings without any people.
Mona Lisa gallery without visitors, the Louvre. Via Wikimedia Creative Commons

It has been a year since the pandemic roll-out worldwide started, and many industries are starting to reflect on the past year and release information on its effects.

It is beyond doubt that tourism is the industry worst affected. In 2019 the World Tourism Organisation reported 1.5 billion international tourist arrivals globally [UNWTO 2019] and forecasted a 4% increase for 2020. Instead of these predictions, the reality was a fall of 73.9% in global travel [UWTO 2020]; 2020 has been the world year in tourism history.

This unprecedented fall in traveller numbers also exposed how connected and dependent to tourism…

5 things that can improve the visitor experience at heritage sites and museums.

Queue of Chinese people waiting for the toilet
Waiting for the Toilet, copyright Photo/IC

1/ Mind your pees. I have an archaeology and world heritage academic background but also I have been working as a tourist guide since 2010. While training to become a tourist guide one comment by the British Museum trainer stuck to my mind: “you can know the history of the whole world, be able to tell the difference between the black and red-figured Greek pottery and identify all the Egyptian gods, but if you don’t know where the toilets are nobody is going to listen”. Arriving at a museum or heritage site with any size group, from a family to…

A laptop open next to a notepad with pages filled in handwritten notes.
Studying, copyright by rhodesj on flicker and used with Creative Commons licence

If there is one thing that the whole world has learnt in the last year is that e-conferencing and e-learning are here to stay. In the last 14 months, we have all overdosed in Zoom meetings, subscribed to more conferences and seminars than there are hours in the day, and have grappled with working life and teaching from home [].

Museums are included in the long line of cultural institutions that have raced to develop a wide range of online resources, from revamping museum websites and social media accounts to online galleries, podcasts, and webinars. …

The wedding dress of Empress Catherine II, copyright

Some years ago, I was invited to an international conference in Moscow, Russia. Part of the activities organised for the participants included a visit to the Armoury Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin Museum. Out of thousands of impressive artefacts on display, including Faberge eggs, only one is stuck to my mind even today. The wedding dress of Catherine the Great. Made to impress, the wedding dress is made of silver brocade, decorated in silver embroidered roses, shimmering and dazzling in the light. For a moment I could imagine I was the young empress with the 17-inch waist wearing this exquisite…

The Buganda kings’ tombs at Kasubi, Uganda copyright not not phil via Wikimedia Commons

For many years — ever since the 2006 UNESCO Convention in Tokyo — community involvement has been hailed as an integral part of promoting sustainable tourism.

Very often though, this participation is difficult to realise. Tourism is often seen or described as an external powerful force that impacts on the destination community, with the community being the passive participant; the metaphor used of billiard balls with “tourism the white ball hurtling towards a stationary [the community] coloured ball” [Bushell & Staiff]. However, in World Heritage sites where the visitor numbers are not high, the benefits of tourism for the communities…

Themis Chalvantzi-Stringer 💙🇪🇺🇬🇷

I love archaeology, arts and heritage, and traveling. I am a freelance tourist guide

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