Making Exhibits Accessible

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8 photos showing disabilities for which exhibits should make accommodation.

CMME is guided by a core team of four institutions that are working collaboratively to design and develop an exemplar interactive. Together these organizations represent leaders from the museum field and the digital media world who have extensive experience creating exhibits and media for all audiences.  They are: the Museum of Science (MOS), the WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), Ideum, and Audience Viewpoints.

Two successive workshops were offered allowing for participants to explore technologies for accessibility. The Possibilities Workshop took place over two days at the Museum of Science in Boston and served as a project catalyst by bringing together non-museum professionals with diverse areas of expertise and all of the participants for the subsequent Concept Development Workshop. The Possibilities workshop informed the participants about new possibilities for creating digital interactives in science museums that are inclusive of people with disabilities.

The Concept Development Workshop featured four different design teams working in parallel to develop possible approaches to a universally designed interactive exhibit focused on data representation. Each design team included museum professionals, individuals from other fields, and disability advisors. Teams worked to create an exemplar interactive that provided multi-sensory ways for visitors to explore data or test hypotheses by reviewing, manipulating, or otherwise analyzing real data. Participants reviewed and critiqued each team’s design to inform the core development team’s next steps.

While the final interactive will be installed at MOS, the interactive will be built from discrete open-source software modules developed under a Creative Commons license, allowing the design of the full interactive to be adopted by any institution. A do-it-yourself (DIY) toolbox that contains a repository of digital tools and guidelines will also be produced and available for any institution interested in fostering inclusive informal science learning.

Photo courtesy of the Boston Museum of Science • "Girl, Peterhoff & Untitled" by Sara Lafleur-Vetter, copyright 2007 • "Olafur Eliasson: I only see things when they move" by Dom Dada, copyright 2008 • "Friendship is a dirty face" by Andreas-photography, copyright 2008 • "Feeling things" by Hé'louïse, copyright 2006 • "Handicapped" by Domiriel, copyright 2011 • 20071130-Museum-0062" by By Peter Carney, copyright 2007

The CMME website is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant #1114549. Please see disclaimer below.