Jar showing Odysseus tied to his ship's mast surrounded by sirens

Accessibility Statement

This accessibility statement applies to all of the British Museum websites, apart from the Portable Antiquities Scheme website, which has its own accessibility statement.

By British Museum websites we mean: 

We are committed to making our websites and mobile applications accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. We want as many people as possible to be able to use our websites and work is continuing to fulfil this aim.

In the meantime, on the britishmuseum.org website, you should be able to:

  • Change colours, contrast levels and fonts 
  • Zoom in up to 400% without the text spilling off the screen 
  • Navigate most of the website using just a keyboard 
  • Navigate most of the website using speech recognition software 
  • Listen to most of the website using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS and VoiceOver) 

We are also making the text on our websites as simple as possible to understand. We write in plain English and explain technical terms wherever possible.  

AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability. 

How accessible are our websites?

How accessible are our websites?

Some content on our websites is not fully accessible because: 

  • Some images do not have image descriptions.
  • Some audio content, particularly podcasts do not have transcriptions.
  • Most older PDF and Microsoft Office documents on the website are not fully accessible to screen reader software. 
  • Live video streams do not have captions.
  • 3D objects using the third-party plugin Sketchfab are not fully accessible to screen reader software.
  • Some catering facilities, e.g. the Great Court Restaurant uses a third-party booking form which isn’t fully accessible to screen reader software. 
  • Content is hosted on one of the British Museum microsites which, due to their age and the different technologies available when each one was set up, means that there is no single solution available to make them accessible. We are working hard to address this problem as we explain in the Disproportionate Burden section below.

Feedback and contact information

Feedback and contact information

If you have any feedback regarding the accessibility of our websites or need information from our websites in a different format such as accessible PDFs, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille we’ll do our best to support you. Please email us at access@britishmuseum.org, or fill out our online enquiries form.

Please provide us with:

  • The web address (URL) of the content you need
  • The format you need it in
  • Your name and email address

We welcome your feedback. We will aim to get back to you in 21 days. 

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of the British Museum websites, and we have tried to provide an accurate summary of how our websites currently meet the accessibility requirements.

However, due to the age and complexity of the British Museum websites, there may be issues of which we are unaware. If you find any problems not listed on this page, or you think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements in any way, please email us at access@britishmuseum.org, or fill out our online enquiries form.

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘Accessibility Regulations’). If you have raised any accessibility issues with us and you're not happy with our response, please contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Contacting us to visit in person

Contacting us to visit in person

If you need any assistance or information to help you plan a visit to the Museum, please contact us: 

You can also read our Accessibility at the Museum page for more information.  

Technical information about our websites' accessibility

Technical information about our website’s accessibility

The British Museum is committed to making its websites accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018. 

Compliance status

The British Museum websites are partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances and exemptions listed below.

Non-accessible content

Non-accessible content

The following list provides details of the content on the www.britishmuseum.org website which is currently non-accessible. Some of the issues may also be applicable to our other websites. We are currently reviewing all of our websites and this list will be updated as more information becomes available. In the meantime, we are working to address all of the issues listed below and will update this statement as necessary. 

Non-compliance with the Accessibility Regulations

  • Focus is trapped inappropriately on the close image caption button when using VoiceOver. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.1.2 (No Keyboard Trap).
  • Background elements receive focus when the cookie notice appears. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.3 (Focus Order).
  • Some of our audio content lacks transcriptions, particularly our podcast content. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content). 
  • Images in the collection search do not have a text alternative, so people using a screen reader cannot access the information. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (Non-text content).
  • Some of the buttons in the collection search are not appropriately labelled, so people using a screen reader cannot identify the purpose of the buttons. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (Non-text content) and 2.4.6 (Headings and labels).
  • Some lists and headers in the collection search are not appropriately labelled, so users cannot identify the purpose of lists or headers. These fail WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (Info and relationships).
  • In the collection search, sometimes screen reader and keyboard focus does not move to new modal dialog, so users have to navigate to the modal dialog. These fail WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.1.1 (Keyboard).
  • In the collection search, some modal dialogs do not trap the cursor, so users can access background features, which may be disorienting. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.3 (Focus order).
  • In the collection search, sometimes the cursor does not return to its original location when a modal dialog is closed, so users have to navigate back to the triggering element. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.3 (Focus order).
  • Some of the links in the collection search are long or confusing, so people using a screen reader could be confused by what they navigate to. These fail WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.4 (Link purpose).
  • Sometimes, in the collection search, mandatory fields are not labelled as such, so users will not know that they are required. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 3.3.2 (Labels or instructions).
  • There are some parsing errors in the collection search, which may mean that they are not interpreted correctly by assistive technologies. These fail WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.1 (Parsing).
  • Sometimes, in the collection search, roles and states are not correctly defined or described, so users may not know where they are. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (Name, role, value).
  • Sometimes, in the collection search, updated content is not announced to screen readers, so they may be unaware of the change. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (Name, role, value).
  • Sometimes, in the collection search, resizing content causes content to overlap or become unavailable, so users with low vision might not be able to access. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.4 (Orientation) and 1.4.10 (Reflow).
  • Some text and controls in the collection search have insufficient contrast, which may be difficult to read for users with low vision. These fail WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.3 (Contrast) and 1.4.11 (Non-text contrast).
  • In the collection search, the loading message is sometimes not announced for screen reader users, so users do not know the status of the page. These fail WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.3 (Status messages).

Disproportionate burden

We have a large number of historic microsites that are non-compliant with many of the WCAG 2.1 AAs success criterion. We are currently in the process of closing many of these sites, and we consider that auditing and fixing the accessibility issues for the sites which will be decommissioned, would be a disproportionate burden. We have identified the microsites we wish to retain and these will be audited to allow us to identify the work that needs to be carried out to make them accessible. Further details on each of our microsites, including the names of those which we are intending to close, can be found within our Disproportionate Burden Assessment, which is available upon request.

360 tour of Arctic: culture and climate

Our 360 tour of the exhibition Arctic: culture and climate does not meet accessibility standards, due to the limitations of the panorama software. However, the tour can be experienced by some screen readers. We have tried to mitigate the issue by including keyboard navigation options, captioning and description on audio/video content where possible.

A curator’s tour of the Arctic exhibition is available in an alternative format and there's a lot of accessible information about the exhibition on our website. We've assessed the work which would be required to make the tour fully accessible and we believe that doing so now would be a disproportionate burden, within the meaning of the Accessibility Regulations.

Collection online

The online collection database is an automated copy of a pre-existing internal database, so it includes data that is not formatted to current accessibility standards, such as data which changes language without flags. Due to the size of the database and the complexity of the task, we believe that it would be a disproportionate burden to resolve all the accessibility issues. If any users experience accessibility problems, please contact us and we'll endeavour to provide the data required in a more suitable format for your needs.

Content that’s not within the scope of the Accessibility Regulations

PDFs and other documents  

Many of our older PDFs and Microsoft Office documents that you can view from our websites' do not meet accessibility standards. For example, they may not be structured in a way that makes them accessible to a screen reader. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (Info and relationships). The Accessibility Regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018. Any new PDFs we publish will meet accessibility standards.  

Pre-recorded media 

Some older videos do not have captions or an Audio Described alternative. Where the video is not providing similar information in a different form, this fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.2.2 (Captions) and/or WCAG 1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (Pre-recorded). The Accessibility Regulations do not require us to fix pre-recorded time-based media published before 23 September 2020. Any new video content will meet accessibility standards.  

Live audio and video 

We do not plan to add captions to live video streams because live video is exempt from meeting the Accessibility Regulations

Objects within our collection, archives and libraries

These are exempt under the Accessibility Regulations and there are no plans to update all historic content. However, where possible, and on request, we may be able to provide information in alternative formats. 

Third party content 

We use a number of third-party services on www.britishmuseum.org. The design and implementation of these are not under our control, and therefore they are exempt from the Accessibility Regulations. However, we make them accessible where we can and raise any other issues with the supplier. These include: 

  • Soundcloud (audio content) 
  • Google Maps (interactive maps) 
  • YouTube (video content) 
  • Hotjar (survey pop-ups) 
  • Sketchfab (3D content) 
    • There’s 3D content that some screen readers cannot translate or provide alternative audio content for. This feature also requires users to drag and rotate the 3D models which may be inaccessible to some people. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (Non-text content). There are no plans yet to update this plugin.   
    • There’s 3D content that when using the VoiceOver is incorrectly labelled for screen readers. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.4.3 (Focus order). There are no plans yet to update this plugin.
    • There’s some 3D content where the buttons need to be better labelled for screen readers. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.5.1 (Pointer gestures). There are no plans yet to update this plugin. 
  • Designmynight (Great Court Restaurant booking form) 
    • There is a table booking form and confirmation pop-up window for the Great Court restaurant which people who use keyboard commands only may not be able to interact with. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 2.1.2 (No keyboard trap). There are no plans yet to update this plugin, however there are contact details on the page to make enquiries by phone or email. 
  • Cookiebot (cookie management platform)
    • There are description lists which are not semantically declared. This may make content seem unstructured or disorganised for assistive technology users. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 (Information and Relationships). The way Cookiebot works means we are unable to fix this.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

As noted above, the British Museum runs many websites, including a large number of microsites that were developed at different times using different technologies. We are committed to providing websites that are accessible to all and we are working hard to achieve that, but the scale and complexity of the task provides a number of challenges. 

We are also:

  • Ensuring that all new components are built to the highest WCAG standards possible.
  • Continuing to test our new designs and products with a broad and diverse range of audiences.
  • Rolling out accessibility training to staff who create content and new products.
  • Raising general accessibility awareness across the Museum.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 12 November 2019. It was last reviewed on 24 September 2021. 

This website was last tested in March 2020. The test was carried out by AbilityNet. We tested all components and modules that we use to build our page templates. We then tested a sample of our page templates, which included all components.  

If you would like to view the full accessibility report, which includes details of what was tested, please email access@britishmuseum.org