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Engagement for All: SEND in museums with Sam Bowen

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This week we’re exploring engagement for all with Sam Bowen, a passionate advocate for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) inclusion in museums.

Sam shares her extensive experience in the museum sector and explains how her role as a mother to a child with SEND has fuelled her advocacy work.


  • Personal Journey: Sam discusses her background in museums and how her personal experience as a parent of a child with SEND shaped her into an inclusion advocate.
  • Inclusive Spaces: the crucial need for museums to create inclusive spaces and programmes that cater to the diverse needs of all visitors, irrespective of their abilities.
  • Practical Advice: how museums can become more SEND-friendly, including consulting with SEND families and organisations to better understand their unique requirements.
  • Sensory-Friendly Initiatives: The importance of sensory-friendly spaces and resources within museums to enhance the comfort and engagement of SEND visitors.
  • Proactive Approach: Why museums need to take a proactive stance on inclusion and collaborate closely with SEND families and organisations to remove any access and participation barriers.

About Sam Bowen:

Sam delivers training globally to the museum and cultural sector on all aspects of welcoming children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). She also speaks at conferences, write articles and mentor museums on organisational change in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).

Sam has worked in the Museum sector for 25 years during which time she’s been a Curator, Education Manager and Museum Development Officer. She brings this knowledge, combined with her lived experience as a SEND parent, to support museums as a freelance consultant.

She is the founder of the SEND in Museums campaign, author of the Special Schools and Museums toolkit and creator of, a sector advocacy and guidance resource.

In 2021 Sam was named the Radical Change Maker in the (UK) Museum Association’s Museums Change Lives awards. Her commitment to museums is to help them become accessible to the 9% of the UK child population who are SEND and who deserve equity in cultural engagement.

Links a sector advocacy and guidance resource.

Sam Bowen website:

Sam Bowen on Twitter: @makedoand SEND & @SENDinMuseums