Museum Accessibility: Why & How

Welcome Alabama Museums Association Annual Meeting attendees!

The resources referenced in our presentation, Museum Accessibility: How & Why, are listed below. They are also available via the Diigo collaborative bookmarking site: mbfortson’s ama12 Bookmarks on Diigo.

You can find a copy of the presentation slides here: Museum Accessibility: How & Why. If this document is not accessible to you, please contact me so I can get the slides to you in a format that is.

Thanks for visiting.


About UDL | National Center On Universal Design for Learning
“Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.”

Academic Resources and Universal Design | ProfHacker | The Chronicle of Higher Education
“The situation would be much improved if more of us embraced the concept of universal design, the idea that we should always keep the largest possible audience in mind in our design decisions, ensuring that our final product serves the needs of those with disabilities as well as those without.”

Accessibility | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
“Opportunities for participants of all ages and abilities at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.”

Accessibility | Museum of Science, Boston
“The vision of the Museum of Science is one where everyone can participate equally in the excitement of science and technology learning.”

Accessibility Program | Smithsonian
Includes list of accessible features by museum.

Assistive Technologies in the Library – Barbara T. Mates, William R. Reed | Google Books
“Universal design in learning environments can be accomplished by providing multiple means of representation, action, expression, and engagement.”

A Few Words About People First Language (PDF) | Disability is Natural
“People First Language puts the person before the disability, and describes what a person has, not who a person is.”

Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrator’s Handbook | National Endowment for the Arts
This NEA publication is “designed to help you not only comply with Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, but to assist you in making access an integral part of your organization’s planning, mission, programs, outreach, meetings, budget and staffing.”

Disability Characteristics (Alabama) | 2010 American Community Survey | American FactFinder
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey (ACS).

Disability Characteristics (United States) | 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates| American FactFinder
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey (ACS).

“Disability is a phenomenon of the experience…” | Disability Awareness Training | Art Beyond Sight
Valerie Fletcher on redefining disability: “Disability is a phenomenon of the experience that occurs by the individual intersecting with the environment, including physical, information, communication, social and policy environments.”

Expanding Your Market: Maintaining Accessibility in Museums | USDOJ
Information about building, program, and shop accessibility from the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Are Names Recipient of the 2002 Museum Accessibility Award | AAM

Gallery Talks in American Sign Language (ASL) | Smithsonian American Art Museum
“Art Signs: Gallery Talks in American Sign Language (ASL).”

Going Beyond: What Does Universal Design Look Like? (PDF) | American Association of Museums
“Without a doubt, universal design and accessibility impact the exhibitions and public programs that museums produce. But how do you integrate those principles into your exhibits and programs?”

A Guide to Disability Rights Laws | USDOJ
Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act, Telecommunications Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Rehabilitation Act, Architectural Barriers Act and more from the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

A Higher Standard: Museum Accreditation Program Standards (PDF) | American Association of Museums
AAM Accreditation Program Standards, including the Characteristics of an Accreditable Museum.

Interaction & Etiquette Tips | United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)
From the site: “The rules of etiquette and good manners for dealing with people with disabilities are generally the same as the rules for good etiquette in society. These guidelines address specific issues which frequently arise for people with disabilities.”

Museum Education Institute | Art Beyond Sight
“The goal of the Art Beyond Sight Institute is to empower cultural institutions to provide accessible and inclusive environments for all their patrons including those with disabilities and their families.”

People with Special Needs | Queens Museum of Art
“ArtAccess is a unique program of the Queens Museum of Art designed specifically for visitors with special needs.”

Policies Relating to Web Accessibility | WAI
Outlines legislation and policies related to web accessibility. In the United States, these include Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act, Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Project Access
A database of “accessible and inclusive public spaces and programs for people with disabilities and their families. Art, science, history and children’s museums, zoos, botanical gardens, national parks and historic sites, sports arenas, theaters, and other cultural centers are featured.”

Programs for Visitors with Disabilities | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Information about the Museum’s accessible collections, buildings, programs, and services.

Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design | Smithsonian Accessibility Program
“Exhibition designers, curators, registrars, conservators, collections managers, designers, editors, developers, educators, and other exhibition team members each offer particular insights into the exhibition medium. All of you are in a unique position to synthesize accessibility solutions into your development processes. The Smithsonian challenges its exhibition teams to invent such solutions and to share those findings with colleagues through this document.”

Tactual Museum | Lighthouse for the Blind of Greece
Founded in 1984, this museum provides people with visual access disabilities “the opportunity to come in touch with ancient greek Culture… At the same time it was realized that the ability to touch and feel the exhibits was an excellent new way of approaching the ancient greek civilization not only for blind but for sighted people, too.”

Touch Tours | Individuals Who Are Blind or Partially Sighted | MoMA
“Touch select sculptures and objects from the collection, in MoMA’s Sculpture Garden, and in the galleries.”

Training on Disability and Inclusion for Museums and Cultural Institutions | Art Beyond Sight
“This 55-slide presentation is designed for museums, historic sites, art centers, and other cultural institutions. It can be used for staff and educator training as well as self-study.”

Universal Design (Accessibility) | Museum of Science Boston
Describes “how the Museum integrates Universal Design into exhibit development” and lists “general resources that we find helpful.”

Visitors with Disabilities | MoMA
“Everyone is welcome at MoMA.”

Vocabulary Tips | United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)
UCP’s “suggestions on how to relate and communicate with and about people with disabilities.”

[Web] Accessibility | W3C
“Why: The Case for Web Accessibility,” “What: Examples of Web Accessibility,” “How: Make Your Website and Web Tools Accessible,” and links to “a wide range of resources on different aspects of web accessibility standards, education, implementation, and policy.”

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