Case Study: Planning family interpretation around learning needs

Most people are familiar with the idea that we all learn and engage in different ways. You can learn more about theories of multiple learning styles here.

At Bradford Police Museum, Rosie was able to put theory into practice by creating interpretation that catered to a range of needs.

Rosie developed 4 creature characters to guide family visitors around the space.

Each creature appealed to a different style of learning.


The station cat was based on observation skills – suited to visual learners and those who prefer to explore quietly.


The mounted horse was based on conversation and designed to promote intergenerational talk – well suited for social learners and to family groups.


The police dog was based on sensory exploration – suited to a range of learners, including those with additional needs and younger children.


The office mouse liked movement and drama – designed for kinaesthetic learners.

The Bradford Police Museum opened in 2014 and tells the history of policing in the city. Visitors can explore the gallery and tour the historic rooms in the building.

The new interpretation panels were designed to increase engagement and participation.

The choice of engagement strategy ensured that young people could feel empowered and motivated whilst learning about the collection – they could pick their own route through the gallery spaces, identify with one or more character type, and learn in their own way. This built-in flexibility also catered for repeat visitors, as different approaches could be taken on different visits.

Bradford-based Foxduo design company worked collaboratively with an illustrator to design friendly animals with a broad appeal. Colour-coded speech bubbles provided a clear visual cue for each animal. 

Rosie also created a set of small accompanying bags incorporating the animal designs, featuring items such as magnifying glasses and police notebooks to facilitate further engagement with the themes and provide paper for drawing.

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For each of the chosen themes of the exhibition, Rosie created content to appeal to a range of different learning styles and which promoted participation and facilitated conversations.

Examples include:

The cat encouraged close looking through this suggestion:

Look closely at our collection of helmets, badges and buttons. Which do you think were the night uniform buttons and which were worn in the day?

The mouse encouraged dramatic action through this task:

Would you rather have a rattle or a whistle to attract attention? Mime using them both to see which you prefer.

Conversation was encouraged by the horse, through open-ended questions like this:

If you were a police officer, what useful items would you want to attach to your belt?