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Education & Interpretation

Education & Interpretation


Addressing the Needs of Kids with Autism

In this March/April 2011 article from Museum magazine Lisa Jo Rudy provides tips for accessibility and inclusivity for children with autism and their families. The article covers training, preparation, communication, and special events.

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)

Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrator’s Handbook

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Office for AccessAbility and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies provide a resource on how to plan and design for accessibility. You can download the PDF on the NEA website.

Effective Communication for People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Noted hearing access consultant, Janice Lintz, provides this easy to use guide to help organizations better meet the needs of people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

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.

Handbook for Museum Educators

Art Beyond Sight offers a free Handbook for Museums and Educators.

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.

Making Your Meetings Deaf-Friendly

A workshop in advance of a National Association of the Deaf conference shows how meeting and hospitality professionals can improve their Deaf-friendly customer service.

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.

Visitor Voices

In this September/October 2015 Museum magazine article, Annie Leist, Sheri Levinsky-Raskin, and Barbara Johnson Stemler discuss how museums can better collaborate with visitors.

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)

Focus Group for Visitors with Low Vision or Blindness

Art Beyond Sight provides resources for conducting a focus group of visitors with low vision or blindness including a script and sample questionnaire.

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.

Honoring Experience

The blog, The Empathetic Museum, published a post about the Eastern State Penitentiary Museum’s Prisons Today exhibit and how battling implicit bias helped the organization develop an exhibit that encapsulates how an empathetic museum acts.

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.

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.

Living Homes  for Cultural Expression North American Native Perspectives on Creating Community Museums

In this Editions publication from the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), editors Karen Coody Cooper and Nicolasa I. Sandoval assembled stories—from an Alutiiq community on Alaska’s Kodiak Island to Hopi people in Arizona’s—that speak to the concerns and aspirations that unite indigenous peoples in the lands known now as the Americas.(PDF, 121 pages)

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.

Responsive and Accessible: How Museums are Using Research to Better Engage Diverse Cultural Communities

Cecilia Garibay discusses how museums are using research to better engage diverse audiences in this January/February 2011 ASTC Dimensions post.

Strengthening Immigrant Voices through Museum–Community College Partnerships

In this Winter 2013 volume of Diversity & Democracy (a journal of the Association of American Colleges and Universities), Margot Edlin, Patricia Lannes and Kitty Bateman discuss how they used an IMLS grant to fund CALTA21, a model initiative Lannes developed to bring English language learning into the museum setting.

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