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Accessibility (Education and Interpretation)

The Alliance has compiled this set of accessibility resources from amongst its own offerings as well as those throughout the nonprofit and museum sector.

Alliance Resources

Addressing the Needs of Kids with Autism

This Museum magazine article provides tips for accessibility and inclusivity of children with autism and their families. The article covers training, preparation, communication, and special events.

Serving Diverse Needs of Communities

The Alliance provides a handout from its 2013 annual meeting, which explains how to manage and overcome expenditure barriers in order to create and ensure accessibility at small to mid-sized museums. This session’s handouts explore the cost of different accessible programs including those for visitors who have vision impairments, dementia and other disabilities. (PDF, 6 pages)

Take a Seat

This Museum magazine article explores visitor comfort and navigability in the museum through; seating, labels, lighting, and open captioning. The article urges museums to understand obstacle access, consider accommodation for visitors after fatigue, and design an exhibit with a comfortable environment with which to interact.

Visitors With Vision Loss

This Museum magazine article provides insight on getting feedback about the accessibility of programming, exhibits, and facilities, through focus groups. The article also discusses providing training to staff on issues of accessibility, developing outreach strategies for people with low or no vision, considering changes to exhibit design, and universal design.

What Does Universal Design Look Like?

This Museum magazine article explores the history, fundamentals, and seven principles of universal design and its application to museum programming.

Other Resources

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, the toolkit aims to support museums of all sizes by providing tips on training staff to be dementia friendly, choosing objects and evaluation. (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, legal overview, physical and intellectual accessibility, effective communication, training, and audience development and marketing. You can download the PDF on the NEA website.

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. (PDF, 111 pages)

Resources for Visitors on the Autism Spectrum

The Metropolitan Museum of Art 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.

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