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Article published 04/10/2023

We recently caught up with Anne Kinnes, CEO at the Black Watch Castle & Museum to find out more about their new exhibition “The Hauntings”.

We also took a closer look at the work, the team at the Black Watch Castle & Museum have put in place to ensure the exhibition is an inclusive and accessible experience for their visitors. 

In this article find out why inclusive tourism important and the support, resources and advice available for tourism and events businesses to help them make their offering more inclusive.

Anne Kinnes, CEO Black Watch Castle & Museum

What is The Hauntings?

Taken straight from their marketing literature, “The Hauntings” is a six-meter tall scrap metal sculpture of a war-weary soldier. 

This ghostly sculpture was commissioned for the World War One centenary in 2014 by Jo Oliver and Paul Richards. It commemorates those who served in The Great War. It's made from over 1,000 pieces of locally sourced scrap metal including horseshoes, brake discs, and car jacks. Its intricate design allows the light to filter through his body giving a spectral aura. 

This imposing sculpture is now on display in the grounds of Balhousie Castle until 12 November 2023.

So, plenty time to go and see for yourself.

The Haunting sculpture at Black Watch Castle & Museum

"The Hauntings" sculpture. Image credit Black Watch Museumn & Castle.

Making the exhibition accessible

Anne and her team at the museum aim to create a world-class experience for all their visitors and while preparing for the arrival of the impressive sculpture, ensuring this exhibition was accessible was a no-brainer. 

"You should try and be accessible to all. You want to give every customer a world class experience. This should be your default position not because you think it will benefit the business. You should be looking at how your visitors can benefit.

Don’t think outside the box… make your box bigger.  

You don’t always need external support to make your offer more accessible. Ask your staff for ideas, you'll be surprised how many of your staff can relate to the challenges faced by people with specific access requirements. Even small changes make a difference."

To accommodate an increase in their footfall, the museum has doubled their accessible parking spaces. They also provide ramp access for those who need it to get closer to the sculpture.  

One of the other considerations put in place was quiet time.

Quiet time

Every Tuesday evening for one hour, the team opens their doors, and provides a "quiet time" session to support those who may find it challenging to come and see the sculpture during the day when the museum is busy.

The session provides an opportunity for people to get up close to the artwork. Visitors can feel the metal parts of the sculpture, the sandbags, the grasses, and some pieces of WW1 uniform for an immersed, sensory experience.  

As a charity, wellbeing is at the heart of what they do, so it’s important to be able to offer this session in a calmed environment.   

This session is supported by staff and a hauntings helper, if available, and accompanying carers go free.

advert for the Black Watch Museum promoting their quiet time visits

Anne's tips for an accessible experience

  • Listen

    to what your visitors are saying and research what others are doing  

  • Make small changes

    they will all add up in the future

  • Explore

    different options in which you can be accessible but accept you may have some limitations

  • Finally

    if you can’t do everything, don’t let it stop you from doing something!  

Why is inclusive tourism important?

At VisitScotland, we’re focused on helping the tourism industry improve their visitor experience for people with access requirements, whether that is dsiabled people, families with young children or senior travellers needing specific services or support. Nearly one in five people in the UK have a disability or an impairment. That’s a huge market that your business could tap into. 

Some fast facts about the benefits of inclusive tourism:

  • disabled and senior travellers spend more when holidaying 

  • this market is a loyal customer base keen to recommend their experiences to family and friends 

  • the market is set to increase as the UK’s population ages 

  • becoming more inclusive can make life easier for a wide range of customers including disabled people, families with young children and senior travellers

To find out more, take a look at our Inclusive Tourism Toolkit, which has top tips and tools to help improve your customer service, information provision and connect with new customers.

Take a look at our Inclusive Tourism Toolkit

Business support and advice

Our team are here to help. We offer support, resources and advice to tourism and events businesses to help them make their offering more inclusive. We also work with organisations advocating on behalf of people with accessibility requirements. 

Check out our inclusive tourism section for more information, and take that first step, or further – wherever you are in your journey, we’re here to help.

Support and advice

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