Visitors on the Autism Spectrum: The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

General Information for a Visit to The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

From 11 April until 12 October 2014, The Queen's Gallery will host The First Georgians: Art & Monarchy 1714-1760. This exhibition includes paintings, drawings, prints, furniture, sculpture and plate. 

A visit to The Queen’s Gallery typically last an hour and a half. There are people in uniforms (Wardens) who can help you with any questions during your visit.

The Entrance Hall

The Entrance Hall is a large space. Like most tall stone spaces, it echoes. Visitors queue to buy tickets, and then enter the exhibition or go into the shop. It can be more difficult to hear voices clearly in this hallway, because of the levels of background noise. Staff try to speak as clearly as possible.

Entering the Exhibition

Before you enter the exhibition you must go through security. All visitors must follow the instructions of the wardens (dressed in uniform). Visitors must show their ticket at the desk and will have their bags manually searched by a warden. The warden will be careful and try to put things back as they were.

You will then be asked to walk through a metal detecting arch. This arch makes a loud noise if it detects something metal. If that happens, staff will use a hand-held detector and wave it around your body to find out what set-off the alarm. The detector should not touch your body. Often a watch or metal belt buckle will have caused the alarm to sound. You are then given your bags again.

You will go through a set of doors into a lobby area.

Gallery Lobby

The Gallery lobby is quite dark, and the light levels change dramatically from the Entrance Hall. There are patterns on the floor and the echo is worse than the Entrance Hall.

There are four options from the lobby:

1. The Cloakroom

Straight ahead, on the left, is a ‘cloakroom’ where visitors can leave bags and coats if they wish. Any large rucksacks or suitcases must be left in the cloakroom. The warden behind the desk will then give you a ticket. Give this back to them at the end of your visit, and they will give you your belongings. If you are not sure whether your bags are too large to carry round with you, you can ask the warden at the cloakroom desk.

2. The Lavatories

These can be found in the cloakroom area. There is an accessible lavatory with a wheelchair sign on the door. It can be used by any visitor who cannot use the other lavatories. The other lavatories are through a doorway, opposite the accessible lavatory. They are indicated by a sign of a man and a woman on the wall.

3. The Lift

The Lift is in the far corner, near the accessible lavatory. It will take you up to the exhibition level on the first floor.

4. The Staircase

If you do not wish to use the lift, go back towards the entrance. There are two flights of stairs which will also take you up to the exhibition.

The Exhibition

Here you can ask to borrow one of these:

1. Audio Guide

The warden will tell you how to use it. The audio guide tells you about the exhibition. It has some background music. You can stop and restart the audio guide at any point. If you listen to all of the tour it will take you about 60 minutes. The audio guide can be used with or without headphones. If used without, you should hold it like a mobile phone.

2. Audio Guide Script

Also suitable for deaf and hard of hearing visitors who cannot listen to the audio guide.

3. Translations

Translations of the main information panels in the Gallery into a number of different languages for non-English speakers.

4. Large Print Text

Copies of all the text (labels and panels) in the exhibition.

5. Magnifying Glasses

For visitors who might find it difficult to see some of the detail in the works in the exhibition.

6. Neck Induction Loops

For visitors who wear a hearing aid, to help them hear the audio guide better.

7. Family Activity Bags

These typically contain a selection of games and trails for families with children.

From the audio guide desk you have two options:

1. The Millar Coffee House

This is on the left of the staircase, slightly behind you as you stand at the audio desk. It is a mock Georgian Coffee House – it does not sell coffee. Inside there are two touch screen computers which visitors can use to browse online exhibition material. There is a large screen, on the wall, which shows introductory films, this may flicker slightly. There are also a number of books in the room. These tell visitors about the exhibition themes in more detail. There are books suitable for adults and children. There are several stools, cushions and two window-seat areas – there is a down-draft from the air conditioning system. There are a number of hats in the room that conceal headphones that can be used to listen to more information about the Georgian Coffee House. There is background noise of chatter, to replicate a coffee house, within the room.

2. The Exhibition

There are four rooms:

  • The Small Chambers Gallery - the small Blue Room
  • The Chambers Gallery – the Blue Room
  • The Pennethorne Gallery – the Green Room
  • The Nash Gallery – the Red Room

You will enter the exhibition through the small Blue Room. All of the rooms are light and spacious except for the small Blue Room. From the small Blue Room you go into the large Blue Room.

When you get to the end of the large Blue Room, preferably you should go into the Green Room next. To get to the Green Room go through the open door.

When you have seen all the works in the Green Room enter the Red Room. To get to the Red Room you walk through a smaller, darker space. As you do this there is a slope downwards, in a dark grey flooring, different to the previous wooden floor.

Exiting the Exhibition

To exit the exhibition you must make your way back into the Green Room where, at the far end you will find an exit door. When you leave the Green Room you come into a brightly lit space. There may be a slight flickering effect from the lights. In front of you is a place for visitors to return their audio guide. You put the headphones on the rack and the audio player machine in the box on the desk. To the left is a short staircase which leads to staff areas of the Gallery and a lecture space, but this is not part of the exhibition.

Turn right and you will be back at the audio guide desk. You can give back other borrowed guides and equipment here.

Remember to collect your belongings from the cloakroom if you left some there. You exit the same way you came in.

The Shop

The entrance to the shop is in the Gallery Foyer, you can visit the shop before or after the exhibition.

The shop is very brightly lit. There are central ceilings lights and a lot of glass cabinets with lights. To the left, as you enter, there is a ramp taking you up to the higher level. The ramp brings you up near the jewellery counter where there is a lot of bright light and glass. There are also three stairs up to the higher level. These are made of stone, and can be difficult to see when coming down. Please be careful. You exit the shop the same way you came in.