Open Exhibits - Research - Papers



“Life in Translation”: Addressing Deaf Visitors in Museums with an American Sign Language (ASL) Multimedia Tour


Abstract–“A Research article was written about the experiences of two groups of deaf adults who were invited to participate in a focus group to try out the Star Wars exhibition deaf Multimedia Tour (MMT) in order to provide feedback on both its effectiveness and how it could be improved. The purpose of the focus groups was to gain in-depth feedback from many people at once, particularly because it is so difficult to collect data from deaf users in our exit interviews due to language barriers. In exchange for participating in a focus group, participants were offered free admission to the Museum, Star Wars exhibit tickets and free parking. Focus group members largely appreciated having the tour and all believed the Museum should provide more advertisement for the tour. None of the participants had known about the Tour prior to the focus groups. However, they reported that once they learned more about the MMT and its ASL capabilities, they could go at their own pace and explore topics of interest at greater depth. The handheld Museum tour had some design issues because the screen size of the handheld made the captioning lag a second or two behind the ASL interpreter and allowed only 5 or 6 words to appear at a time. As technology continues to change and as it becomes easier to incorporate ASL into video-based technologies, museums and other cultural institutions should think about ways of providing deaf individuals with access to learning in their primary language. The deaf community would be more likely to feel welcome and come to the Museum of Science if handhelds were prevalent and well advertised.” (Chin & Reich)