Relaxed openings at The National Museum of Computing - picture copyright TNMOC

Relaxed opening times for for people with autism and their families

The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) has won a Museums and Heritage Prize to help with its ‘relaxed opening’ initiative. Relaxed openings are for people with autism and their families.

TNMOC Head of Learning, Claire Marston, said:

“We realised that the Museum offers people with ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder] a fascinating visitor experience, but that the whirring noise and flashing lights of our vintage working computers could be disturbing and akin to sensory-overload.

“So, we launched our relaxed openings at the start of the day before the museum is fully open to the public — and the feedback has been terrific.”

Visitor registration

There isn’t an extra extra charge to attend a relaxed opening, but visitors should register by emailing

A visitor to an earlier event said:

“Our boys both loved it. Ordinarily, after a few hours one son is on edge, on the verge of overload. They say living with autism is like living life in a disco.

“Museum staff were patient, understanding, and tremendously knowledgeable, explaining things in an accessible way.”


The next relaxed openings

The next relaxed openings will be on 28 July and 25 August 2017. They run from 10.30am to noon.

For more information, visit the museum’s website. It is also on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.


The National Autistic Society

The National Autistic Society welcomed the museum’s initiative. National Campaigns Manager, Jessica Leigh, said:


“Like anyone, autistic people and their families want the opportunity to visit attractions such as museums but our research suggests that many find the often busy and unpredictable environment of public places overwhelming and many avoid them altogether.

“We hope that the early opening of The National Museum of Computing will help autistic people and their families while in the long run help to spread understanding so that other museums, shops and services can become more accessible.”


National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour

As part of its Too Much Information campaign, the society is launching the Autism Hour.

With the support of shopping centre owner intu, it will be held during the week of 2 October 2017.

The society is asking shops and businesses to organise an Autism Hour. By taking some simple steps for 60 minutes it could lead to a more autism-friendly world.

Jessica Leigh said:

“This will be the UK’s first week-long event where shops and services will take simple steps for one hour to help create a more autism friendly world – from dimming the lights and turning down music to sharing information about autism with employees.”

More advice on autism visit the National Autistic Society website.


The National Autistic Society’s Make it Stop video