Category Archives: Museum Accessibility

Museum Accesibility Resources, repost from The Incluseum

The Incluseum is a project based in Seattle, Washington that advances new ways of being a museum through critical discourse, community building and collaborative practice related to inclusion in museums. The Incluseum is facilitated and coordinated by Aletheia Wittman and Rose Paquet Kinsley.

 

ONLINE:

Autism in the Museum This website offers examples and resources to museums and other informal educational setting interested in engaging with children on the autism spectrum. This site was launched by Lisa Jo Rudy, a museum writer, consultant, and mother of a teen with an autism spectrum diagnosis. She’s been involved with researching, writing, training, and consulting on autism and inclusion since 2006.

Center for the Future of Museums. (2008). Museums & Society 2034: Trends and Potential Futures. (Chapters of particular interest: The Changing Face of America).

Center for the Future of Museums. (2010). Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums.

Center for the Future of Museums. (2012). Trends Watch 2012: Museums and the Pulse of the Future. (Chapters of particular interest: Takin’ it to the Streets and Creative Aging.)

Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium has compiled a list of cultural accessibility and inclusion resources for everything from exhibition design to presentations.

Dodd, J., & Sandell, R. (2001). Including Museums: Perspectives on Museums, Galleries and Social Inclusion. Research Center for Museums and Galleries: University of Leicester.

The Empathetic Museum. This blog is a collaborative effort that explores what a culture of empathy looks like in museums.

From the Margins to the Core?  An international conference that explored the shifting roles and increasing significance of diversity and equality in contemporary museum and heritage policy and practice. Conference videos, reflections, and papers.

Group for Large Local Authority Museums. (2000). Museums and Social Inclusion: GLLAM Report. Research Center for Museums and Galleries: University of Leicester.

Jackson, M. R. and Herranz, J. (2003, November 1). Art and Culture in Communities: Unpacking Participation.

The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience: “…sites, individuals, and initiatives activating the power of places of memory to engage the public in connecting past and present in order to envision and shape a more just and humane future.” Organizations can join as members and gain access to resources, training and capacity building strategies provided by the Coalition.

Lopez, M. and Candiano, J. Room to Grow: A Guide to Arts Programming in Community Spaces for Families Affected by Autism. (2012).

Matarasso, F. (1997). Use or Ornement?: The Social Impact of Participation in the Arts. Comedia.

Multimodal Approaches to Learning Conference: Podcasts. A selection of presentations at the Multimodal Approaches to Learning Conferences, co-sponsored by Art Education for the Blind and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and held at the Met.

Museums & Race 2016 Reading List. Compiled by Planning Team Leaders and Facilitators of the Museum & Race 2016 Convening in Chicago.

Museums and Society. This is a free, peer-reviewed, online journal published by the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies. Some issues have interesting articles that touch on themes of social inclusion and representation.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). When the Going Gets Tough Report: Barriers and Motivations Affecting Arts Attendance.  (2015)

trivedi, nikhil. “Pronoun Stickers at MCN 2016.” Museum Computers Network Blog, (2016).

The Pop-Up Museum is a project directed by the Museum of  Art and History of Santa Cruz. The site hosts a great how-to, organizer’s kit and many examples of past pop-ups. You can even submit information regarding your own pop-up museum!

Reach & Associates. (2010). Who’s Coming to Your Museum? 

Resources for the Museum Industry to Discuss the Issue of Unpaid Internships. (2015). American Alliance of Museums.

Sandell, R. (2003). Social Inclusion, the Museum and the Dynamics of Sectoral Change. Museum and Society, 1 (1), 45–62. 

Sidford, H. (2010). Fusing Arts, Culture and Social Change: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy.  National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. (A recent analysis of this report here.)

Social Justice Alliance of Museum aims to build an international platform to promote best practices related to social justice and democracy in museums. The site hosts many inspiring case studies.

Southern Poverty Law Center’s, “Who’s Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy” Report. (2016).

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. (2006). Community-Based Exhibition Model. 

PRINT:

Barrett, J. (2010). Museums and the Public Sphere. John Wiley and Sons.

Bourdieu, P. (1993). The Field of Cultural Production. Columbia University Press. (Bourdieu conducted early and extensive audience research at European art museums.  Conclusions of research address class barriers to access/social exclusion.)

Brown, C., Wood, E., & Salgado G. (Eds.). (2009). Inspiring Action: Museums and Social Change. London: MuseumsEtc.

Gurian, E. (2010). From Soloist to Impresario. In F. Cameron and L. Kelly (eds.) Hot Topics, Public Culture, Museums. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Gurian, E. (2010). Museums as Soup Kitchen. Curator: The Museum Journal 53(1), 71-85.

Kreps, Christina. (2003). Liberating Culture. Routledge.

Lonetree, Amy. (2012). Decolonizing Museums. UNC Press. (A project of First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies.)

Museums and Social Issues. (This is a peer-reviewed journal that explores contemporary social issues and their engagement with museums. Most issues are relevant to the theme of social inclusion in museums)

Sandell, R. (Ed.). (2002). Museums, Society, Inequality. New York: Routledge. (This book presents international examples of museums working towards social inclusion.)

Sandell, R.  & Nightingale, E. (Eds.). (2012). Museums, Equality, and Social Justice. New York: Routledge.

Silverman, L. (2010). The Social Work of Museums. London: Routledge.

Sullivan Sorin, G. (2007) The Problem of the 21st Century is Still the Color Line. Museums &  Social Issues 2(1), 11-44.  ( If you are interested in the Sorin & Ladson Billings articles then check out the article by Liz Dwyer)

Teslow, T. (2007). A Troubled Legacy: Making and Unmaking Race in the Museum. Museums & Social Issues, 2(1), 11–44.

ONLINE & PRINT – APPLICABLE TO THE MUSEUM FIELD AND BEYOND

You can read more about racial justice specific resources here.

Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.

A syllabus on Urban Design, Race and Justice posted on CityLab.com here.

#FergusonSyllabus, a crowdsourced syllabus about race, African American history, civil rights, and policing. Find an associated Atlantic piece about the syllabus here.

Applied Research Center. (2011). Racial Equity Impact Assessment Toolkit.

Eck, D. L. (2006). From Diversity to Pluralism. On Common Ground: World Religions in America, Columbia University Press.

Hayward, C. R., & Swanstrom, T. (2011). Justice and the American Metropolis. U of Minnesota Press.

Ladson-Billings, G. (2006). From the Achievement Gap to the Education Debt: Understanding Achievement in U.S. Schools. Educational Researcher, 35(7), 3 –12.

Low, S. Taplin, D. and S. Scheld. (2005). Rethinking Urban Parks: Public Space and Cultural Diversity. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Art for the Blind access tour at Rome’s Ara Pacis Museum

Bringing art to life for blind museum visitors

One of Rome’s most prestigious public museums is offering a pioneering experience for blind visitors that perfectly demonstrates the possibilities of combining the latest technology with the greatest art.

Co-created by Antenna International and partially sighted consultants from Italian tech specialists Tooteko, the Art for the Blind access tour at Rome’s Ara Pacis Museum allows blind and partially sighted visitors to interact with the museum’s 2,000-year-old Ara Pacis Augustae and other ancient treasures in truly innovative ways.

Positioning technology allows independent exploration, while multisensory content, such as evocative audio descriptions and tactile elements, bring exhibits to life like never before.

What technology does it use?

The Art for the Blind tour uses the latest in smart, wearable rings, portable technology, and 3-D printing. Software is also key: iPad minis feature an app specially designed for visually impaired users.

How does it work?

At the start of the tour, blind and partially sighted people receive three items:

  1. A high-tech, smart, wearable ring
  2. An A4, 3D thermoform map
  3. An iPad mini attached to headphones

As they explore the museum, users can touch the ring to tags on exhibits in six main areas of the museum. This wirelessly connects their iPad to sensors at the base of works, which then triggers a unique experience of the exhibit and artwork.

For instance, users have the opportunity to feel details of the famous floral frieze of the Ara Pacis. And at the busts of Augustus’s family, visitors can touch the heads and each sculpture ”speaks” to them in character.

 

 

How have we made sure it meets the needs of our audience?

The multisensory tour and audio guide descriptions were co-created with the help of two key consultants at Tooteko. Anna Spina is partially sighted and Deborah Tramentozzi is blind and an expert on issues affecting blind people. Their insights were fundamental in making the tour and the technology both user-friendly and immersive.

Fabio D’Agnano, CTO at Tooteko comments:

To us, it was important to combine touch and hearing and allow an independent and rich experience for the visually impaired. We wanted to add real innovation into museum accessibility, and the historic Museo dell’Ara Pacis was the perfect environment for it.

Paola Spataro, Head of Digital Media, Italy for Antenna International adds:

Technological advances, both big and small, are turning museum tours across the world into unforgettable experiences. The work we’ve done in Rome is a great example of what can be achieved. There are so many innovations out there which can enrich and enliven what museums are creating, and I’m excited to see where even the next twelve months will take the industry.

 

Participatory research post at the Open University.

We are looking for a researcher to work on ARCHES. This is an Horizon 2020 funded project involving partners in Heritage and Technology across Europe. The OU is leading the research component, establishing a range of participatory research groups to work with partners in Heritage and Technology across Europe. The researcher will have personal and/or professional experience of supporting people with intellectual and/or sensory impairments. They will have a post-graduate qualification (preferably a PhD) and will speak English + Spanish and/or German.

The 3-year project begins in October 2016. It will develop online resources, software applications and multisensory technologies to enable access to Cultural Heritage Sites within and beyond the project. Our partners include The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Wallace Collection, Bath University, Treelogic, Centro Regional de Bellas Artes de Oviedo, KHM-Museumsverband, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza and Fundación Lázaro Galliano, Signtime, ArteConTacto, Coprix Media and VRVis.

This is a fantastic opportunity to work on a highly innovative and ground breaking project. Details can be found at: http://www.open.ac.uk/about/employment/vacancies/arches-research-associate-12365

Call for papers on Inclusive Experiences in Exhibition Design. Deadline: April 13, 2015

The journal Exhibitionist invites proposals for its spring 2015 issue, Creating an Inclusive Experience: Exhibitions & Universal Design.
Proposals of 250 words maximum are due by April 13, 2015.

You can find the Call for Papers at: http://name-aam.org/about/news

Call for Papers Fall 2015 Exhibitionist

DATELINE: February 20, 2015

Download this document

Creating an Inclusive Experience: Exhibitions and Universal Design

Proposals due April 13, 2015

In 2015, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA). To mark this milestone,Exhibitionist takes on the topic of “Universal Design.” While Universal Design evolved from Accessible Design—and uses accessibility as a starting point—it goes further. It recognizes that human abilities are wide-ranging, and that all of us, if we live out a typical lifespan, will experience some sort of functional limitation. For those involved with exhibitions, this means creating environments that are usable by everyone with the least amount of adaptation. It calls for creative and imaginative ways to engage the widest possible group of users.

For this issue, we seek proposals that focus on exhibitions as a whole—or on elements within an exhibition (such as media, technology, multisensory elements, label-writing, etc.)—that incorporate the principles of Universal Design.* The exhibitions (or installations) can be of any size, and take place in any of a variety of spaces: museums of all disciplines, historical sites, institutions that collect and display living collections, or other environments.

Proposals can also focus on broader institutional strategies for including Universal Design in exhibition making, or on teaching Universal Design to those who create exhibitions. Proposals might come from designers, curators, developers, writers, architects, educators, collection managers, or others who create and contribute to exhibitions. As much as possible, if a case study, research project, or student experience is submitted, the article should not focus on a single project or institution without raising questions or throwing light on larger issues that are widely applicable.

Submissions from colleagues and students around the world are welcome and encouraged.

Deadlines

Proposal due: April 13, 2015. 250 words maximum. Briefly describe your article; how it relates to the issue theme; and your background/qualifications for writing the article. Proposals will be vetted by our editorial advisory board, and you will be notified of acceptance or non-acceptance.

First draft due: June 12, 2015. 2,000 words maximum (approximately four single-spaced pages) with four to five high-resolution images, captions, and credits. Your article will be returned to you with comments and edits by theExhibitionist editorial advisors and editor.

Final article due: August 11, 2015

Please send all submissions via email to:
Ellen Snyder-Grenier (esnydergrenier at yahoo.com)
Editor, Exhibitionist, the journal of the National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME)

Accessibility for Under 100 Dollars (Repost)

Accessibility for Under 100 Dollars

Ways to create more accessible facilities and programs for under $100.

The following are ways to create more accessible facilities and programs for under $100.  These ideas have been compiled from the participants at the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) conferences for Arts administrators and managers over the past 5 years.

Betty Siegel, Director of Accessibility

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

  1. Add a cup dispenser to a water fountain that is too high.
  2. Adjust the gauge on a door to lessen the pressure and make it easier to open and close
  3. Ask local advocacy agencies to help you train staff and raise awareness.
  4. At a doorway that is difficult to open, have a doorbell that people can ring for assistance.
  5. Avoid glossy or highly reflective papers when printing program books or brochures.
  6. Be sure that staff always introduce themselves.  Someone who is blind or has low vision may not be able to read someone’s name badge or recognize an ushers uniform.
  7. Be sure your staff know the accessible paths of travel and shortest routes around the facility.
  8. Bevel thresholds with pieces of wood.
  9. Color and shape code information.
  10. Contact disability organizations and host an open house for their members.
  11. Correct toilet heights with adjustable seats from Home Depot or other stores.
  12. Create lower counter areas by putting in tables.
  13. Don’t use red and green together. Many people have red/green color blindness.
  14. Encouraging people to ask for assistance.
  15. Focus on great customer service.
  16. Form an advisory board of persons with disabilities from the community.
  17. Have a clipboard available for transactions at a counter that is too high.
  18. In an elevator where the buttons are too high, have a wand available to push them.
  19. Include information about accessibility in your marketing materials.
  20. Increase lighting in dark areas.
  21. Install easy to use handles on the inside of the doors on wheelchair accessible bathroom stalls.
  22. Invite rehabilitation centers for people who are blind to use your facility for orientation training.
  23. Invite service animal training schools to do training at your facility.
  24. Join disability-related list serves to get to know the communities.
  25. Keep paths of travel 36 inches wide and free of obstructions.
  26. Lower labels on artwork so that short or seated persons can read them.
  27. Make labels for artwork or other things hanging around in large print.
  28. Make signage directing patrons to your access services prominent.
  29. Make unsold seats available to patrons who are on fixed and limited incomes.
  30. Move furniture, potted plants, and trashcans out of the path of travel to create an accessible route.
  31. Move soap dispensers and paper towels to positions that are easy to reach.
  32. Organize a pre-show touch tour.
  33. Place access symbols are on your marketing materials and maps.
  34. Place public materials on lower counters and tables.
  35. Place wood blocks or bricks under tables that are too short.
  36. Point out accessible routes of travel with signs.
  37. Print self-guided tours for people with hearing loss who couldn’t follow a docent.
  38. Produce programs, playbills and other print materials in large print -sans serif font,16-18 point.
  39. Provide maps of accessible routes of travel.
  40. Provide scripts in advance for people to read.
  41. Purchase a couple induction neck loops for your Assistive Listening Receivers
  42. Put light colored tape on the edge of steps or places where there is a change in level.
  43. Put non-slip material on slippery floor surfaces. NoSkidding.com has products for this purpose.
  44. Put together a speakers group to go out and talk to local disability community groups.
  45. Remind staff not to turn their backs when speaking to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  46. Replace low wattage light bulbs with higher wattage bulbs.
  47. Replace round door knobs with levered handles.
  48. Send notices of audio described performance to patrons who are blind or have low vision.
  49. Send notices of interpreted and captioned performances to patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  50. Train docents to modify language on tours to be appropriate for the appropriate audience.
  51. Train staff about accommodations provided and how to use them.
  52. Train your staff in how to use relay services.  Don’t forget the nationwide 711 relay service.
  53. Try different types of alternative formats such as on audio options like tapes and CDs.
  54. Use e-mail distribution lists to target audiences for specific events.
  55. Use high contrast paint colors between walls and floors to help people with low vision navigate.
  56. Use high-contrast colors on labels for art work. White on black, or black on white.
  57. Use pump style soap dispensers.
  58. Utilize technical staff expertise to create accessibility.
  59. Wrap pipes under sinks with insulation so people don’t burn themselves.
  60. Write an easy to understand synopsis of the play and have it available at the box office.

 

– See more at: http://www.oregonartscommission.org/publications-and-resources/accessibility-under-100-dollars#sthash.GvW451Di.uPsYam9d.dpuf

 

Repost from http://www.oregonartscommission.org/publications-and-resources/accessibility-under-100-dollars

Repost of an article by Mark Piesing from publishingperspectives.com

How UK Museums Use Mobile Tech to Enhance Visitor Experience

UK museums are adapting publishing technology to their needs and using mobile apps to re-invigorate the way visitors explore their spaces.

LONDON: When I stepped through the doors of the Natural History Museum in London I seemed to have travelled almost as far back in time as the exhibits.

In this land that technology had forgotten there didn’t seem to be any public Wi-Fi  and instead I had to rely on 3G to open a website only whose homepage was optimized for mobile. When I wanted to know more about the exhibits it was easier to check Wikipedia about T-Rex than fight through the crowds to see the displays or struggle with a site which seemed more interested in telling me how to get to the museum rather than about the monsters I was seeing when I was there.

When I eventually found the museum’s café there I didn’t see a single tablet or laptop as its public Wi-Fi seemed to be a closely guarded secret. In fact the Wi-Fi was actually leaking from the Treasures gallery above and I was finally able to use an app designed by the museum to start argument with my young son about whether dinosaurs had actually turned into birds.

For mobile evangelist Mathew Petrie, this is an all-too-common mobile experience for visitors to museums in the UK – museums that have perhaps in the past been more worried about the Starbucks effect of “having people with laptops filling up their cafés” if they installed free Wi-Fi, rather than interested in what their visitor’s expect. Petrie is president and founder of Fusion Research and Analytics, which has for the last year being conducting research for some of the country’s best-known museums including the Natural History Museum into how their visitors use mobile.

“Lots of people in the museum community would now like to do a lot of things, but they need to cover basics first,” he says. “Museums have to understand audience needs before starting to build systems.”

According to Petrie, the Natural History Museum has already commissioned research to understand visitor mobile device ownership, usage expectations and current behaviors. “The Museum has also used this research as a platform to assess the potential for new mobile application development for content engagement and other on-site activities.”

Petrie’s research for the UK museum sector suggests that three quarters of UK museum visitors now come equipped with mobile and tablets, “but very few museums engage with them.” Only about 13% of museums have Wi-Fi, and of those that do, “most don’t even promote it.”

The Natural History Museum's Pompeii app adds depth to the exhibition.

Mobile, though, is more than just QR codes that “few people use” or providing free Wi-Fi (although that is a good place to begin). It is more than just publishing a couple of apps that soon languish forgotten and un-updated in the app stores or the “souvenir app” for big exhibitions.

Getting Visitors to Explore the Museum in New Ways

Getting mobile is about understanding what visitors want before they visit, whether they are there from close to home or far away. It is about how what they want may differ between smartphone and tablet users and Apple and Android, as well as between young and old. It is about getting visitors to explore the museums in new ways and even to play games where security guards used to shout “No running.”

“People want to search, to effortlessly get more information more quickly, but 50% of visitors are from outside of the UK and they turn off data roaming to save money,” Petrie says. Tablet users tend to want a deeper experience of their visit but not necessarily in front of the exhibit.

Museum Explorer

“Like anything to do with technology, museums are quick to want to follow it, but adapting it to the museum space is another thing.”

For Dianne Greig these “well-documented” problems are evidence of a lack of robust visitor data to inform strategies – specifically demographic, experiential and behavioral research. Greig is associate director (digital) of Scottish digital development group Culture Sparks.

Too often, she thinks, “responsibility for ‘mobile’ can often sit across teams – marketing, technical development, digital – making collective decision-making a challenge and impacting on the museum’s responsiveness.”

Then research can easily be siloed so that “the intelligence that does exist, in large institutions can often become ‘stuck’ within departments.”

The result of this is a lack of understanding of the whole customer journey, with mobile becoming a “one size fits all” approach and a “fixation with apps” based on little more than “the fact that other museums and galleries are creating them.” When in fact, Greig argues, a website optimized for mobile would be much more cost-effective to produce.

Yet Petrie cautions that “museums are probably doing what they should be doing, being cautious and protecting their brand to avoid alienating people.”

Mid-size museums “may have a few people with the skills and the dreams but not necessarily the authority to go do it.” So better research can provide “more ammunition” for these people to get “more resources. If you have the skills you can have big impact.”

The Huntzz app allows museum-goers to

The Huntzz app allows museum-goers to create their own treasure hunts and tours.

Mobile to Play a Big Part in Future

Mathew Cock, head of Web for the British Museum, agrees with Petrie and Greig that “an increasing proportion of visitors to the museum do want to look at the museums on mobiles.” The museum will soon be publishing its digital strategy, in which “mobile is expected to play a big part.”

“We do have a very high proportion of visitors from abroad – and they have to rely on 3G as we have don’t have public Wi-Fi.” As with many Victorian museums, Wi-Fi is difficult “due to the old and huge buildings and the many galleries.” It is “something that will hopefully happen in the next three to four years.”

Within their website they are starting to do more things aimed at mobile, but beyond the home page most of the site is not designed for the mobile visitor. “In the future there are a couple of gallery projects that we might make apps for or have content designed for visitors and which might have Wi-Fi.”

At the moment the Pompei app is “still our main project,” designed by an outside agency owing to a tight timescale. The app is tied in with the museum’s 2013 blockbuster exhibition “Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum” and its Pompei Live film that was broadcast live to 250 cinemas in the UK in June almost like a “private view” and shown round the world in a recorded form.

“Apps are very difficult to keep relevant and maintain sales, so you need a presence for them outside the app story. So there are spikes in downloads when it is broadcast.”

“We have learned a lot from it as a trial for future exhibitions.” The tablet version was much more popular than the phone version – despite the phone app being cheaper. The tablet app is content-rich and the phone more useful than educational.

“It’s not a yes or no answer,” says Hugh Wallace, head of digital media, National Museums Scotland, to the question as to whether UK museums have been slow to adapt to digital.

“I saw some of the early inventive apps, and museums were actually quite ahead of the game compared to some of the big brands. However, while there are now a lot of inventive conversations happening, organizations themselves are not necessarily at the forefront of innovation.”

As in other sectors, “there has been a tendency for shiny things rather than things that add value to visitors’ experience,” he admits. “However, there is an openness, honesty and reality-checking that you probably wouldn’t find elsewhere.”

Funds are partially an issue: “Bigger players have opportunities to test and learn more than smaller institutions who may depend on one make-or-break project a year. They also have more funding from commercial organizations who are happy to get good PR.”

Wallace believes that a “better Web presence” is the best option for many museums as “apps can be an expensive one-off” and “relatively few apps have performed at the superstar level to make it a viable proposition.”

Experimenting with Gamification

The National Museum of Scotland has three different apps, including a treasure hunt-type challenge, the highlights of the National Museum of Scotland, and Capture the Museum, which is being developed. The website is also being re-engineered for mobile.

“Capture the Castle has prototype funding. It is a fast and furious team game with each team trying to capture flags to capture different territories in the museum.”

In the future Wallace believes mobile for museums will be about “location technology, gesture-based interfaces and 3D interfaces.”

“For the first time I am seeing nice bits and pieces of affordable tech that could change my world: some augmented reality that doesn’t for once look like a PR stunt.”

Ultimately, despite the temptations, he believes that that “the museum community has to be led from the experience perspective and not because the technology is there. Museums are good at overloading due to the way interfaces have been designed.”

For Mathew Cock only a handful of national museums that have a development team will be able to do this in-house. “The app space is fast-moving so there is a risk taking it on by yourself.” Virtual technology is likely to be the future but, again, “the cost could be high.”

Third party apps like Huntzz now allow museums and visitors to create their own treasure hunts and tours.

Diane Greig argues that “More data analysts are needed in the sector to turn raw data into actionable intelligence.”

So perhaps Mathew Petrie’s dreams aren’t too far-fetched: “If in a few years’ time you could say that one in four of visitors are using Wi-Fi then that would be huge.”

This entry was posted as http://publishingperspectives.com/2013/12/how-uk-museums-use-mobile-tech-to-enhance-visitor-experience/ on December 10, 2013

Highlights of this year’s Museum Awareness Month

ART BEYOND SIGHT AWARENESS MONTH 2013

October 3-27
 The Lithuanian Library for the Blind offers a special educational program. It includes a tour of the Lithuanian Library for the Blind and a visit to the Lithuanian Blindness History Museum (a department of the Library). The Museum’s permanent collection contains exhibits and photographs revealing the 85 years of education of the blind in Lithuania (since 1927). Education became possible thanks to the war-blinded veteran Pranas Daunys, who adapted Braille alphabet to the Lithuanian language. There is a display of Braille books published by the Lithuanian Union’s Publishing House in 1963–1992, illustrated with tactile graphics by professional artists. The visitors will try to write Braille with slates and styluses, and create their own tactile drawings on a piece of a foil. Also, there Museum offers a temporary display of tactile textile books created recently by Lina Norkiene, a visually impaired folk artist and a social worker.

October 17-19
The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) presents APH InSights 2013, the annual international art competition organized by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH), will be showcased at The Hyatt Hotel (Louisville, KY) on Thursday, October 17, from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., Friday, October 18, from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 19, from 8:00 a.m. until noon during the 144th annual meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of APH. Admission to the exhibition is free and the public is also invited to meet the artists on Friday, October 18 from 4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Entries cover a wide range of subjects in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography.  The exhibition includes the first, second, and third place winners chosen in each of the nine categories, along with a selection of other entries. Three judges from Louisville selected the featured works from 409 entries. Contact rwilliams@aph.org for more information including entries for the competition in 2014.

October 18
The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents a Multi-Sensory Evening– Beer and Wine Tour from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Chart your own path in the New European Paintings Galleries, 1250–1800 by embarking on a visual tasting tour along the beer route (northern countries) and the wine route (southern countries). Visit five paintings from the Netherlands, Spain, and France and talk with experts at each work of art to connect paintings with the taste and social history of wine or beer.
After exploring the galleries, head to the nearby Great Hall Balcony Bar to check out theTasting Tour Menu, which includes beer and wine flights from related countries.

  • Explore The Annunciation, painted in the fifteenth century by Netherlandish artist Hans Memling, with educator David Bowles and learn about the role of wine in liturgy.
  • Join educator Joseph Loh and historian and beer aficionado George Schwartz for a conversation about Dutch beer and Merrymakers at Shrovetide by Frans Hals.
  • Step into the chaos of a seventeenth-century Dutch home by investigating Jan Steen’s The Dissolute Household with educator Alice Schwarz.
  • Enjoy The Afternoon Meal (La Merienda) by Spanish painter Luis Meléndez with educator and art historian Inés Powell in conversation with wine consultant and journalist Chris Fleming.
  • Travel back in time to the moment champagne was invented during a conversation about The Picnic after the Hunt by Carle Vanloo with educator and art historian Kathyrn Calley Galitz and Andrew F. Bell, President of American Sommelier.

The gallery portion of this event is free with Museum admission. The Balcony Bar menu is available for purchase.

October 26
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum,  Lincoln, MA invites you to experience selected works of art in the Sculpture Park through touch.  These specialized tours led by deCordova’s experienced Museum Guides provide unique access to selected sculptures through a tactile tour designed for the visually impaired and other multisensory learners. Touch tours start at 1:00 p.m. and are free with Museum admission. Visitors who are blind or visually impaired are welcome at deCordova throughout the year.  Please contact dberube@decordova.org  to schedule a specialized tour. Service animals are welcome. Visit www.decordova.org.

October 26
The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, WI
is offering a multisensory gallery tour and hands-on art experience for individuals with low vision and blindness from 10:30 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. Join Paul Rhymer, artist in residence, as he successfully melds his work as a taxidermist and bronze sculptor. A second-generation Smithsonian taxidermist, Paul worked for twenty-five years as a model maker and taxidermist at the National Museum of Natural History. He recently served as a judge on the AMC TV series “Immortalized,” a competitive taxidermy reality show. Rhymer also is an avid birder and bird hunter, pursuits that inform his mounts and his sculpture. During his residency, Rhymer shares insights from his dual careers, including lost-wax bronze casting demonstrations, taxidermy tips, and programs for a range of all ages. Call (715) 845-7010 to register or email jhintz@lywam.org for more information.

October 28
The  Lighthouse Club for the Blind visits the University of Cape Town Irma Stern Museum
Visitiors will enter through the Zanzibar Doors, usually closed to visitors, and discuss Irma, the woman, the collector and the artist with verbal imaging of selected works. There will be opportunities to touch Zanzibar carvings, African masks, some of Irma’s furniture as well as one of her palettes and several brushes. Flower arrangements to extend our discussions will allow for multi sensory appreciation. Each participant will be able to catch something of Irma’s energy in small individual arrangements of flowers from her garden. For more information, please contact Sandra Eastwood at saneast@iafrica.com.

Full Program: http://www.artbeyondsight.org/change/aw-calendar.shtml

Participating Organizations: http://www.artbeyondsight.org/change/aw-participants.shtml

Art Beyond Sight Interviews Michelle Lopez (Queens Museum)

INTERVIEW WITH MICHELLE LOPEZ

published by Art Beyond Sight, Oct, 2013

Michelle Lopez is the senior program coordinator of Queens Museum of Art. Having served children and families on the autism spectrum as an ABA Instructor, counselor and trainer, she is now working with Queens Museum of Art’s ArtAccess library programs and coordinates the Autism Initiatives program, which is a multi-year partnership with the Queens Library. Through this program, families can access bilingual studio art classes held at the various Queens Library branches. Programs have included classes such as Photography Class, Beautiful Oops, and The Magic Tree House series. The Magic Tree House, a 6-week series, provided students of all reading levels with the chance to make art inspired by the themes in books 1-4 of the book series.

 

ART BEYOND SIGHT: Why did you become involved with ArtAccess/Autism Initiatives? MICHELLE LOPEZ: Art access is the part of our education department that focuses on special needs, so I was interested in working with it because of my art therapy background. In terms of Autism Initiatives, back when I was in school I gained experience from working at a preschool with children on the autism spectrum. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do at the time but that’s when I became interested in autism. When I started working at the Queens Museum of Art, we had a grant for the new New Yorkers program, which is a program for adults and the immigrant community. So at the time, most of the programs were for adults but the coordinator wanted to make programs for families as well, including programs for early childhood. It just so happened that one of the families of the program had a child on the autism spectrum – this family invited other friends and family of the autism community and the number of classmates increased therea􀅌er. The coordinator of this new program wasn’t familiar with working with those on the autism spectrum. That’s when I came to help out – it ended up becoming a popular and successful class. And at the same time, the Queens Library was looking to gain training for working with families and children with special needs – that’s when I decided to focus more on autism and became involved with Autism Initiatives.

ABS: What is the goal of Autism Initiatives?

ML: The goal overall is to create more inviting institutions for families on the autism spectrum. Thankfully, looking at how things are now, it looks like a lot of the museums have gone on that journey, starting their own au- tism initiatives. I think now, were really thinking about the relationship of community spaces for individuals on the autism spectrum so that they can develop relationships with these institutions. Another goal is to offer prac- tical tools to help families understand how to use a museum. These families can then pass these tools onto others. Last but not least, another goal would be teaching these families to use this cultural network to their advantage. The focus of Autism Initiatives has shi􀅌ed from children to families in recent years. Due to this, our main focus is socialization because sometimes educators can feel intimidated and vice versa. So a primary goal is socialization.

ABS: What are some programs that have been created through Autism Initiatives?

ML: We first started with photography classes, then DJ classes, to traditional art making classes and art-making classes inspired by books. We’ve also done composing, lighting classes – whatever is of interest of the educators. Programs are o􀅌en educator driven so it usually comes down to the educator. If the educator is passionate about a specific topic, the participants are more willing to learn about it because it is presented to them in an exciting way. Because every child is interested in having a positive experience, we will really initiate any program that an educator is willing to teach as long as they are open to opening up their curriculum in this manner.

ABS: What kind of skills do you focus on enriching in the classroom? Through programs such like the Magic Tree House series?

ML: A series like the Magic Tree House series happens over 6 weeks, so we start with socialization skills. Children learn to greet each other and to reinforce the action of acknowledging their peers. For the Magic Tree House series in particular, we were also trying to wean children off of picture books. Since many children are visual learners, they tend to need that . The great thing about the Magic Tree House series is that there is a set beginning, middle, and end to the story line, and they always focus on science or social study based needs – subjects part of a school’s core curriculum. One thing I’d like to emphasize is that it’s not that children can’t learn, it’s that you want to get them to learn. The idea is to introduce them to themes that will come up in the book and get them interested in those themes. If the theme is mummies, we will introduce them to the idea of Egypt so when they read the books in class or with their parents, they begin to see certain words come to life because of the previous reenactments in class. This applies to children whether they can read or not. We want children to be eventually able to do this on their own. We show parents that the vocabulary of a visual thinker can be built by adding images to words – and images can be added to words by playing around with material found at home. The ultimate goal is to help them be independent in their reading and get them interested in topics.

ABS: Who do you think adults benefit from participating in programs like the Open Studio program? (The Open Studio is a program for adults only)

ML: First and foremost, the adults come on Sunday and they register for every class individually. We don’t want a large group to book during that time because we want adults to live independently. For instance, there might not be enough space for an adult to register due to group booking. We want adults to feel like a􀆩ending this class is entirely up to them – they book the class and they a􀆩end. We also charge a dollar in order to help them understand money management. Usually, 2-4 participants come to each class. The adults choose what they want to do because, they’re adults. If they want to make cards, have a conversation, whatever it is they want to do, it is up to them. We have participants that come every week and work on one art piece for a long period of time with their own materials. The idea here is not to teach them to make artwork but allow them to ask for what materials they want in making it. If they want to make the sky look more profound, Mitra, the art therapist, can make suggestions. The direction these adults want to take is ultimately up to them. We want to provide them with a studio space where they can make decisions. Adults can also benefit from Open Studio because it provides a social community. The adults look forward to seeing each other, sharing new sketches, and interacting with one another.

ABS: Can you describe the process of collaborating with teaching artists and/or art therapists in developing new programs/How do you go about developing a program together to successfully help those with autism?

ML: We collaborate and develop a program by teaching art therapists how to incorporate more entry points into their lessons. For instance, just talking to the kids won’t suffice because children of the autism spectrum are usually visual learners. At the same time, some of them are not entirely visual – some need to take action and do. So throughout the process of developing a program, we make it clear that the communication to the kids needs to be clear, which includes giving participants space and/or more time. We enjoy adapting to the different personalities and teaching styles of art therapists and teaching artists, but we also make sure to let them know to pace each lesson.

Great War Centenary – Accessible for all

From 2014 to 2018, Belgium will be in the international spotlight regarding the commemoration of ‘The Great War Centenary”. The province of Flanders expects tens of thousands of foreign visitors of all ages, some of whom will have some form of accesibility issue. To this end, their Tourism service Visit Flanders has initiated the “The Great War Centenary – accesible to everyone” project. The project strives for integral accesibility of the acitivities commemorating WW I for the broadest possible public.

Download the PDF brochure here or go to the Great War Centenary website.

Thank you to Bart Vermandere from westkans for providing us with this information.

MuseumForAll.eu

Anastasia Kalou on the European Blind Union’s “Access to Culture” project (repost)

European Blind Union survey of access to culture

Repost from http://www.accesstourismnz.org.nz, where it was posted by Dr. Sandra Rhodda, on July 17, 2013.


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Guest blog by Anastasia Kalou, an access consultant and advisory panel member at the European Blind Union’s ATC project.

Symbol of a person walking with a cane

The European Blind Union (EBU) is the united voice of blind and partially sighted people in Europe, protecting their rights and promoting their interests for full participation in social, economic, political and cultural life, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability (UNCRPD), and the the Council of Europe Action Plan (2006-2015) on “Full Participation of People with Disabilities in Society”.  Recently, EBU conducted a small scale pilot survey regarding access at cultural venues and activities for the Blind and partially–sighted people in Europe.  Access to Culture (ATC) Project 2011-2012 aimed to describe

  • current levels of access
  • good practice
  • national legislation and policies for access to culture
  • barriers and scope for improvement

The survey focused on the accessibility at a range of cultural venues and activities, such as theatres, cinema, opera, dance performances, concerts, museums, galleries, heritage sites, and visitor attractions in six countries.  One survey was sent to EBU national member organisations, and another to cultural organisations known to have developed good practices in accessibility for visually impaired people. Survey results show that:

  • the cultural rights of people with visual disability are poorly implemented
  • many cultural sector funding and project development practices discriminate against people with a disability

The report concludes with a Call for Action for cultural policy and strategy change at European, national and local levels in order to urgently address the over-riding conclusions of the survey.  Findings of the survey will be widely disseminated in Europe and serve as a tool for advocacy and lobbying for change.