Education & Interpretation

Education & Interpretation


Audio Description Project

An Initiative of the American Council of the Blind, provides detailed instruction on how to develop a true audio description, or describing the actual object, rather than addressing its creator or history.

Dementia Toolkit for Small Museums

The UK Museums Association shares the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery Dementia Toolkit based on a research project with the Alzheimer’s Society in West Kent, and Canterbury Christ Church University. (PDF, 25 pages)

Effective Access for People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Hearing access expert Janice S. Lintz offers this guide on how museums and other organizations can offer access to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The document shares information on different types of assistive listening devices, including visual elements such as closed captions, and in-person interpreters. Included are captioning standards and finding technical support for assistive-listening devices. This worksheet can help museums determine the best course of action.

Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design

The Smithsonian Institution shares its Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design which offers information on lighting, color, typography, and circulation routes for exhibits and public programming space.

Increasing Accessibility for Visitors Who are Visually Impaired

This article from the AASLH blog provides 3 quick and simple solutions to help small museums increase accessibility for visitors who are visually impaired.

Programmatic Accessibility Guidelines for National Park Service Interpretive Media
The National Park Service provides numerous Accessibility resources including guidelines for interpretive media.

Resources for Visitors on the Autism Spectrum

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) provides a number of resources for visitors on the autism spectrum specifically related to touring the museum. Included in this resource are social narratives and visual checklists.

Tactile Solutions For The Blind

This resource from The Blind Guide offers tips on creating tactile solutions for any situation with a list of additional resources.

Audience Research

Building Audiences

The Alliance and the Wallace Foundation provide a number of resources related to building arts and cultural audiences in this online feature. The site focuses on three elements, knowing your audience, aligning your organization, and reaching your audience.

Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums

The Center for the Future of Museums commissioned this study from the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago. The paper explores the majority-minority future of America and issues a call to action for museums to better serve their rapidly diversifying communities. (PDF, 42 pages)

Exhibit Planning and Design

The Danger of a Single Story

In this TEDTalk, novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

Inclusive Digital Interactives

The Smithsonian along with the Institute for Human Centered Design, and MuseWeb provide this useful guide on developing digital interactives that are inclusive of all abilities.

Interpreting Transgender Stories in Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions

The Task Force for Transgender Inclusion developed this guide on Interpreting Transgender Stories to recognize and address the marginalization of transgender identities throughout history, and the politicization of transgender identity in the twenty-first century.

We Must Decolonize Our Museums

Recorded at TEDxDirigo in November 2016, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko shares the urgency of museum decolonizing practices and offers three ways to approach the decolonization of museums.

Learning in Museums

Visual Thinking Strategies Research

Visual Thinking Strategies shares research focused on aesthetic and cognitive development that results from interaction with art.

Public Programs

Access Programs

The Transit Museum developed a set of online and in-person programs for people with disabilities with an eye toward making its collection accessible to all.

Chicago Children’s Museum LGBTQ Pride Events

The Chicago Children’s Museum provides a number of programs and resources for LGBTQ communities.

Creative Aging

The Center for the Future of Museums TrendsWatch from 2012 includes an item on developing programs for senior citizens.(PDF, 28 pages – see page 17)

Event Accessibility

Making museum events and programs as accessible as possible is part of being a responsible institution dedicated to being inclusive of all audiences. This set of resources provides guidance and tips on how to make public programs, events, workshops as accessible as possible.

Excellence & Equity: Then, Now, Next

In this webinar series, the Alliance explores the important public dimension of museums through the lens of the landmark Excellence and Equity: Education and the Public Dimension of Museums publication.

Family-Inclusive Language

This helpful chart from Margaret Middleton provides an easy to use resource to help better use family-inclusive language. As printed in the January/February 2016 Museum magazine. (PDF)

Fostering Empathy Through Museums

Fostering Empathy Through Museums, available through Rowman & Littlefield, features fifteen case studies illustrating different approaches to how museums are employing empathy.

Interpreting Native American History and Culture

Interpreting Native American History and Culture at Museums and Historic Sites, available through Rowman & Littlefield, features ideas and suggested best practices for the staff and board of museums that care for collections of Native material culture, and who work with Native American culture, history, and communities.

Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites

Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites, available through Rowman & Littlefield, aims to move the field forward in its collective conversation about the interpretation of slavery.

Interpreting The Story Of Slavery Through Antebellum Structures

The National Trust for Historic Preservation shares various examples of historic sites interpreting the story of slavery in different ways throughout the United States.

LGBTQ Heritage Theme Study

The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) presents Next Practices in Diversity and Inclusion, a compendium of 51 submissions from AAMD’s membership exploring a wide range of ways that art museums are striving to become more diverse and inclusive places, both inside and out.

The MoMA Alzheimer’s Project: Making Art Accessible to People with Dementia (MeetMe)

This online guide, from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), details how museums can establish programs for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.

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