Open Exhibits Blog



Additional Museum Accessibility Resources

Building off of an earlier blog post about museum accessibility resources, we wanted to highlight another group of relevant publications and websites. The resources below are useful for anyone creating or evaluating inclusive museum experiences. Some come from non-profits and organizations devoted to accessibility while others come from associations related to the broader world of museums and science centers. You can learn more by checking out the growing list of articles on both the CMME and Open Exhibits sites.

General guidelines to know:

The Center for Universal Design “is a national information, technical assistance, and research center that evaluates, develops, and promotes accessible and universal design in housing, commercial and public facilities, outdoor environments, and products.” In particular, one of the invaluable resources that they have created is a downloadable poster that explains and illustrates the Principles of Universal Design.

CAST, “a nonprofit research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning,” has also created indispensable go-to materials for thinking about museum accessibility. Among the host of resources devoted to Universal Design for Learning, CAST has created guidelines, videos, and presentations. All of them can be found here.

The DO-IT Center “promotes the success of individuals with disabilities in postsecondary education and careers, using technology as an empowering tool,” and their website features numerous resources. Some are specifically geared to students with disabilities while others are for educators and employers. One of our favorite videos produced by DO-IT features how to make websites accessible.

A project called Universal Design Education involving The Center for Universal Design, IDEA Center in the School of Architecture and Planning, and the Global Universal Design Educator’s Network has created a unique website dedicated to “support[ing] educators and students in their teaching and study of universal design.” Be sure to check out the extensive links and bibliographies and join one of the conversations on the Discussion Forums.

We also wanted to draw your attention to the US Census data on the number of people with disabilities. You can find the latest information in this summary report.

Museum specific resources to explore:

Through the Office for Accessibility, the National Endowment for the Arts highlights its work to “make the arts accessible for people with disabilities, older adults, veterans, and people living in institutions.” One of the publications showcased on the website is the Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrator’s Handbook.  This resource, which suggests practical steps you can take to make your organization more inclusive, has an online companion that is available here.

The Association of Science-Technology Centers devotes part of its website to information for museum professionals about Accessible Practices. This site is a collection of key resources including legal guidelines, background information about the Disability Rights Movement, checklists and advice on how to choose access advisors.

The American Alliance of Museums has also published references for the museum field on how to make institutions more accessible to all. One particularly significant publication, Everyone’s Welcome, helps professionals become familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and learn ways to incorporate recommendations into their work. You can purchase this book directly from their site.

And finally, The British Museum’s website provides an example of how museums can make their online collections more accessible by including both British Sign Language videos and audio descriptions of objects in their collection. Discover these objects and more here.

by View all posts by Marta Beyer on April 22, 2013