Museum Access


This article describes how museums are making art exhibits more accessible to disabled people. While all public spaces are required to be wheelchair accessible by law, this doesn’t necessarily mean that disabled visitors will get the same full experience. Several museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are implementing programs that will allow people who are blind, deaf, or autistic experience museums to their fullest. It’s interesting to see how the arts can be experienced other than by sight because we usually think of museums as static things to be observed and not touched. For years, audio materials have been available to museum goers that will describe certain pieces to the viewer. These are useful for everyone, but now there are more specialized things that are taken into consideration such as the height of display cases so that those in a wheelchair can see the artwork. There are also tours available given in ASL and extended hours to give people with cognitive disabilities the time to become familiar with the museum.

2 thoughts on “Museum Access

  1. It is amazing what museums are doing to provide more access to the disabled. Technology really becomes useful in these kinds of situations. I remember several years ago, when I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art., if I came too near a piece of art, the security guard would tell me to step away. I hope the museum is also putting efforts to making #d images of some sculptures because I would love to touch and get a closer look at them. The directors of these museum are making efforts to inform the public about history. Using ASL to inform should have been done years ago. After all, there are tour guides for the hearing. Also, I always wondered that if museums were going to make historical pieces more accessible to the blind, how were they going to do it. Most museums do not allow people to even go near an artifact. Technology has really improved the way the public can access these kinds of things.

  2. I think it is great that museums are providing access to the art for all people, whether abled or disabled. It’s interesting how they want to create verbal imagery to describe art to the visually impaired. Art usually encourages people to perceive and study it with all five senses. With the visual descriptions, I think it adds a different twist. How it is described and what is emphasized is critical in the visually impaired person’s perception of the art. Therefore, great care must be taken in the description because what the author meant in the work may be lost in the words of the interpreter. With this caution in mind, I think everyone can benefit, not just the disabled. Creating these descriptions will challenge the abled to create images that are close to an agreed notion of the meaning of the work, whether the original, the popular, or even the extraneous. If people can see that everyone benefits, the abled will see this work as more than a charitable handout and hopefully bring more interest in the idea.

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