Aveso worked with the Isle of Man’s Manx Museum on their Changing Places toilet project in 2018. We caught up with them this week to find out what impact the installation of the facility has had on the museum and its visitors, and how they have responded to the challenges they have faced due to the pandemic.

What have been the benefits to the museum of having a Changing Places toilet?

Our Changing Place has provided tangible benefits to the museum and to the local community. It has not only attracted audiences who would not usually visit the museum, it has provided disabled people and their carers with both the space and equipment they need to safely use bathroom facilities, have the confidence to leave their homes and enjoy the museum complex. With our disabled visitors well catered for, their dwell time within the museum complex has increased, whilst the benefits have also extended to Douglas town centre, which is accessible via lift from the adjoining car park. The facility has opened up opportunities that were not previously available including to the elderly and people with multiple and complex disabilities, demonstrates our commitment to accessibility for all and vastly improves the quality of life for facility users. We’re exceptionally proud of it!

How has the Changing Places toilet helped visitors?

Our Changing Places Facility has given people independence and improved quality of life, opening up a range of activities that many people take for granted on a daily basis such as visiting the museum galleries, shopping or attending exhibitions and public events. We have visitors who come to the museum just to use the Changing Places facility, others visit to use the hoist, change clothing or to safely have time out of their wheelchair and stretch on the adjustable bed.

The museum has become a place where both disabled visitors and their carers feel safe, catered for and welcomed. Our disabled visitors have a newly found freedom as they are able to stay away from home for longer, knowing that they can visit a safe, clean and hygienic bathroom. We’re proud to champion this, with the days of having to return home to use the loo or having to change in unacceptable conditions long over.

Has the number of disabled visitors increased?

We don’t actively monitor the number of people using the facility, however, it is regularly in use. Notably, multigenerational families and parents with young children also regularly use the facility, in addition to disabled people and their carers.

Have you made any other changes to the museum to improve accessibility?

We are continuously updating the facilities at the Manx Museum, making ongoing improvements to provide an inclusive environment for all who visit. These

 include a fully accessible reception area with a dropped kerb on the pavement, automatic doors at the main entrance and new disabled bathroom facilities. An access guide for the museum is available on our website. Torches and ear defenders are available to borrow from reception for those who require them. Push button power assisted doors have been installed, seating is available in most of the galleries and we have a wheelchair available to borrow while you visit – just ask when you arrive or call ahead to pre book. Assistance dogs are welcome and a water bowl is available at reception. Our main reception area, shop counter and library reading room counter have an induction loop for our hearing impaired visitors. There is written interpretation in all galleries. Visitors with specific needs are welcome to contact the museum team in advance of their visit to request a guided tour.

A display at the Manx Museum



We have created a Quiet Space with sensory lighting for visitors who may experience heightened sensory anxiety, have medical needs, parental needs or need to use the room for quiet contemplation. We’ve also implemented some very simple changes such as removing the front row of fixed seats within our lecture theatre, replacing these with movable seating to provide space for wheelchair users. We’re also undertaking more major work such as installing an additional lift, providing access to our new TT Gallery, ensuring the new gallery is accessible to all when it opens in Summer 2022.

What advice would you give to other museums & tourist attractions that are considering installing a Changing Places toilet?

Go for it – be inclusive, be welcoming and celebrate access for all!

How has the pandemic impacted the museum? 

2020 has taught us to do things differently to remain relevant. That theme continues in 2021 with Covid still prevalent across the world, our Island borders still tightly controlled and the impact on the Island’s economy, knock on impact on our grant from IOMG and MNH’s ability to generate income from a local only audience severely limited. We learnt in 2020 that sites that are popular with our overseas visitors are not necessarily so with our local audience and that we have to give locals a reason to visit more than once (and that includes using our Changing Place). All these factors have influenced our plans for public access in 2021 where we will focus our programming on the available audiences in the local population for the first part of the main season but being ready to adapt our offer as and when border controls are relaxed or lifted.

Some of our recent events have gone digital, often with sell out results, whilst others have reduced groups sizes and additional safety measures in place. For those wishing to venture out to the Manx Museum or to simply use the Changing Place, we’re currently open every day from 9.30am to 4.30pm. For added safety, complimentary face masks and hand sanitizer are available, with additional cleaning taking place throughout the museum and sneeze screens in place on public counters. For added safety, contactless payment is available in the shop. With many people using contactless technology because of Covid-19, visitors to the Manx Museum can now make a donation using contactless payments to support the work of the charity. Simple contactless donation points have been installed at the Manx Museum inviting visitors to tap their contactless debit or credit card to make a donation using technology that has become part of our everyday lives.

Chairman of the Manx Lottery Trust, Sarah Kelly, and Edmund Southworth, Director of Manx National Heritage, opening the Changing Places toilet in 2018



The Manx Museum (Thie Tashtee Vannin) is a tourist attraction located in Douglas, the capital and largest town on the Isle of Man. Showcasing the island’s 10,000 year history through galleries, film and interactive display, it is a very popular destination for tourists and residents alike.

To find out more about visiting the Manx Museum, visit www.manxnationalheritage.im


In July 2018, the Manx Museum opened its Changing Places toilet. Aveso managed the project and the museum added the finishing touches, including a maritime mural and dark blue colour scheme.

A collaboration between the Manx Lottery Trust, Manx Museum and National Trust, the Changing Places room was installed to reduce barriers to access at the museum and across Douglas.

The Changing Places toilet includes a changing table, an overhead hoist, a height adjustable washbasin, a centrally placed toilet and portable privacy screen.



Discover Changing Places with Aveso

We are passionate about creating spaces which provide a safe environment for people with additional needs. We can help every step of the way; from initial advice on feasibility and funding, to planning and design, through to installation. Book a consultation to find out more.