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Museum of Austerity Visitor Guide, 2024

Visitor Information 

We want to welcome everyone to Museum of Austerity and to make your visit as easy as possible. Here is some information that we hope is useful. 

Mixed Reality

Museum of Austerity offers a promenade gallery experience that involves use of a Hololens 2 mixed reality headset. This is a relatively lightweight, adjustable headset with a glass screen that enables you to see the room you are in at the same time as seeing holographic images inside the room. You are invited to wear this headset along with a set of headphones that will deliver a multilayered soundscape including testimony and original music. 

Content Warning

Museum of Austerity contains distressing and challenging material. 

This includes:

  • Holographic depictions of: death and mental distress 
  • Audio references to: mental distress and death, including three instances of suicide*, linked to the benefit system           
  • Audio references to: domestic violence, alcoholism, self harm, eating disorders, dementia   

*Note: One story includes a detail relating to the method of someone’s death by suicide. There is an option to have this story and any others you may have concerns about removed from your experience in advance.

Age Recommendation: 18+  


Before the experience

Before entering, a host will ask you about any access requirements you have and will help you put on and adjust your headset and headphones.  

If there is something in the content warnings you may find especially challenging, please let your host know as we can filter some specific content based on individual preference.  


During the experience  

Museum of Austerity is designed for audiences of no more than ten.

A host will be nearby throughout the experience.   If you need any assistance, at any time, including to request a portable seat or to remove your headset, just raise your hand and the host will come immediately to assist you. 

There will be a place within the experience that you can sit to take a break from listening to the narratives, where you’ll only hear music.

The experience lasts approximately 35 minutes but you are able leave at any time. There is a quiet seated area next to the gallery.


After the experience

You are welcome to stay in the lounge area after the experience for a short while to look at the wall displays or to have a rest on one of the sofas.


Get Involved

John Pring, co-editor of Museum of Austerity, invites you to explore the Deaths by Welfare timeline, co-created with Dr China Mills at Healing Justice Ldn.


Healing Justice London are holding a workshops to accompany Museum of Austerity – more info coming soon.



Please let us know your access requirements in advance, you can do this by emailing:

Smitheries Studio, Kent at

Bristol Old Vic at

Museum of Austerity is accessible to wheelchair users and can also be experienced:

  • Walking and standing as a promenade experience including with portable folding stools      

The following options and equipment are also available:

  • BSL Introduction on iPad, which you can watch HERE
  • In headset captions      
  • Dialogue only version (reduced background sound)      
  • Silent version      
  • Large over-ear headphones which can encompass a behind-ear hearing aid      
  • A volume control allowing independent control of volume in the left or right ear      
  • A 3.5mm mini-jack socket for hearing aids with direct input cable      
  • A personal induction loop for hearing aids with a T-setting     
  • Transcript available on request       
  • Headphones free audio
  • Audio description (Introduction and Through Description). Listen HERE for Audio Description Introduction for Kent. Bristol to follow.
  • Stationary, seated, audio only version      
  • Sighted Guide host support (arranged in advance) 
  • The mixed reality headset can be worn over most glasses and contact lenses      
  • Headset brightness adjustment      
  • Large print version of brochure, signage and audio description transcript available in paper or digital form on request and via VocalEyes    
  • Guide dogs welcome
  • Free companion tickets available at time of booking 

Keeping Safe: HoloLens 2   

Touch points on headsets, earphones and iPads will be sanitised between use.

The HoloLens 2 Safety Warnings and Instructions are available HERE. Printed versions of this can be provided by your host. We recommend you read the full guidance before making a decision to enter:       

  • If you have an electronic medical device fitted (e.g pacemaker)      
  • If you or any of your relatives have a history of seizures or epilepsy      
  • If you have a pre-existing vision condition, as a small percentage of people have a pre-existing vision condition that may be aggravated when using HoloLens 2.   

Some people may experience discomfort such as nausea, motion sickness, dizziness, disorientation, headache, fatigue, eye strain, or dry eyes when using mixed reality. If you experience discomfort, alert your host and rest until you feel better. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.


Helplines / Further Support  

For every showing of Museum of Austerity there will be a host present should you need support.

If you have found the content challenging, you may choose to listen to the audio breathing exercise resource prepared by the production’s Wellbeing advisor. You can listen HERE.


Healing Justice Ldn Aftercare menu – offers some approaches to care for yourself in the way you might need following engaging with their timeline:

Disability News Service : For details of organisations that provide free advice and support to disabled people, on issues such as benefits, housing, independent living, and how to become involved in disability rights campaigning visit:

If you or someone you know are feeling emotionally distressed, the following organisations offer advice and support.

Samaritans Call 116 123, for a free listening service 24 hours, 365 days a year

Calm  Call 0800 58 58 58 5pm – midnight, 365 days a year 

Mind  Call 0300 123 3393, Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm



We welcome feedback. If you have any suggestions about how we could have improved your experience of Museum of Austerity, please email or pop a message in our exhibition postbox.