Category Archives: Museum Accessibility

Why touching art is so tempting — and exciting. Repost from CNN.

Updated 13th May 2019

Marlen Komar, CNN

Imagine an empty gallery in a museum. It’s just you, a 200-year-old masterpiece and the quiet. The brush strokes of a Rembrandt painting draw you in, and with your hands behind your back, you lean in to study the colors and textures.
Looking sideways, you spot the security guard at the door, standing bored and inattentive. You could easily reach out your hand and steal a quick touch, rules be damned.

Fiona Candlin, a professor of museology at Birkbeck College in London and author of “Art, Museums, and Touch,” is all too familiar with these clandestine moments. She spent years investigating the motivations behind why visitors touch exhibits without permission, what they choose to touch, and how these unauthorized touches make them feel.
As it turns out, this type of rule-breaking is a common part of the museum-going experience. While she was observing unauthorized touching at the British Museum for a report published in The Senses and Society journal, a security guard told Candlin, “You stop a hundred people touching and there are 200 more … It’s like trying to turn back the sea.”
Closer inspection
Museums are often seen as sober places, where visitors are expected to silently walk from gallery to gallery and contemplate art from a distance. But Simon Hayhoe, a lecturer at the University of Bath who specializes in art education and disability, suggests we often want to close that distance and interact with works more intimately.

Solid gold toilet to land in English stately home
He links this to the original purpose of Renaissance artworks, which were hung inside churches to teach people about Bible stories. The pieces were hung in a way that created a sense of remoteness and reverence, and made the viewer feel like an outsider.
“What the church did was put the art out of reach. They never put it close to the people so they can stand in front of it. They were designed to be seen (up) high, and so people would look at them in awe and wonder,” Hayhoe explained in a phone interview.

“So there is a sense of power there as well. There is a sense of you are not allowed anywhere near this painting, because it’s imbued with God, it’s imbued with power, it’s imbued with something you’re never going to be close to.”
According to Candlin, there are numerous reasons why museum visitors are so tempted to touch art, one of which is classic empirical investigation — simply put, the desire to learn more.

“If you want to find out how finely a surface has been finished, or how two bits are joined together, or how deep an engraving is, the best way to find out is by touching it,” Candlin said in a phone interview.
“You want to know how something is made, you want to know what it’s made of, you want to try and get a sense of how it’s put together, and so you touch for those kinds of reasons.”

Part of that inspection is to confirm authenticity. “There can be a real blur between museums and experiences and theme parks and wax works. Often if you have really big objects on display — if you think about going into the Egyptian galleries in the British Museum or the Met. Some people can’t believe you would put real things on display without glass around them. They’re not quite sure and they figure if they touch it, they can make an assessment,” Candlin said.

Touching also has to do with playing with the art pieces on display — especially when it comes to statues of animals and humans. But because these figures aren’t real, museum-goers feel free to push boundaries, patting lion heads or groping naked bottoms. They’re making visual jokes and performing for both themselves and the people they are with.
In Candlin’s research, she found that the British Museum’s Lely Venus, a Roman statue of the goddess leaving her bath, had her behind cupped so often that the piece was put behind barriers.
An emotional connection
Standing in front of artwork also often evokes an emotional response. It’s not just about appreciating technique, Candlin explained, but thinking of the human element behind the work and wanting to connect with the person behind the genius.
“If something is made by a named artist, the museum goer wants to feel they have some connection with that named artist. Barbara Hepworth put her hand here and I’m now putting my hand here,” Candlin said.
“There is a sculpture by Hepworth at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (in England) where you can see her finger marks in it, and if people notice it they will often put their hand against her finger marks to give that sense of her hand and their hand meeting.”
While she doesn’t go so far as to suggest people break the rules the next time they’re at a museum, Candlin does believe touching is an important — and, unfortunately for security guards, inevitable — part of experiencing art.
“People aren’t just touching the ends of their fingers — they’re stroking things, they’re holding things, they’re mimicking,” she continued. “You’ve got to see touching as part of the continuum of ways in which people physically interact with objects.”

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First ARCHES Workshop in Madrid, 13.6.2019, Lázaro Galdiano Museum.

The project ARCHES will organize a series of workshops with the objective to reach museum professionals in Europe and around the world. The first Workshop will take place in Spain on 13.6.2019, Lázaro Galdiano Museum, Madrid

Germany: fall of 2019, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn

France, fall of 2019: Musée d’arts de Nantes

Italy, fall of 2019: TBC

Croatia and Slovenia, fall of 2019: TBC

These workshops will be accompanied by a 80 page handbook, published in three languages (German, English and Spanish) which will be both printed and distributed as a PDF and plain text through the ARCHES website.

First workshop: Towards a Participatory Museum: Inclusive Activities in Cultural Institutions

Workshop for Spanish and Iberoamerican museum professionals

13.6.2019, Lázaro Galdiano Museum, Madrid

Introduction

This workshop is the first in a series of events to disseminate the results of a three-year research within the framework of the ARCHES project.
The visit to the museum should be a time of learning, of discovery. 
Eduardo, ARCHES group Madrid
The workshop is based on our work with four participatory research groups in four European cities: London, Madrid, Oviedo and Vienna. Each of these participatory research groups included between fifteen and thirty-five people with a wide range of access preferences often associated with sensory and/or cognitive impairments.

Timetable

The workshop will be held on 13 June, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Lázaro Galdiano Museum in Madrid.

How to participate

– The workshop is free and open to professionals working in Spanish and Ibero-American museums.
– Registration open until end of May
– Maximum 50 participants
– Registration by email, with Name, Surname, Affiliation, email, telephone
– Please indicate access needs and dietary requirements
– The workshop will be in Spanish. There will be translation in LSE, in case any participant needs it.
– Registration through email workshops@arches-project.eu

—–> Español / Spanish:

Taller ARCHES para profesionales de museos españoles e iberoamericanos

“Hacia un museo participativo: actividades inclusivas en instituciones culturales”

El taller “Hacia un museo participativo: actividades inclusivas en instituciones culturales” es el primero de una serie de eventos para difundir los resultados de una investigación de tres años en el marco del proyecto ARCHES. El objetivo del taller es compartir con los profesionales de los museos españoles e iberoamericanos lo que hemos aprendido en nuestro proyecto.

El taller se basa en el trabajo que hemos desarrollado junto a cuatro grupos de investigación participativa en cuatro ciudades europeas: Londres, Madrid, Oviedo y Viena. Cada uno de estos grupos de investigación participativa incluye entre quince y treinta y cinco personas con varias preferencias y necesidades de accesibilidad, a menudo asociadas a discapacidades sensoriales y/o cognitivas.

Los contenidos de este taller reflejan, sobre todo, las experiencias con los grupos en el Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, el Museo Lázaro Galdiano y el Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias.

  • FECHA: jueves 13 de junio de 2019
  • HORA: de 9 a 17 horas
  • Actividad GRATUITA
  • Inscripción abierta de abril a mayo
  • Inscripción en workshops@arches-project.eu
  • Inscripciones con nombre, apellidos, afiliación, email y teléfono
  • Por favor, indicar necesidades de acceso y requerimientos dietéticos
  • Máximo 50 participantes
  • Taller en español. Habrá traducción en LSE
  • Para más información visite www.arches-project.eu
  • LUGAR: Museo Lázaro Galdiano. Calle Serrano 122 (Madrid)

Este proyecto ha recibido financiación del programa de investigación e innovación Horizonte 2020 de la Unión Europea bajo el acuerdo nº 693229.

Planteamiento del taller

 

ARCHES es un proyecto europeo que busca hacer los museos más accesibles para todos a través de tecnologías y una metodología participativa. Gracias al apoyo de la Unión Europea, ARCHES ha reunido a personas con discapacidad, empresas tecnológicas, universidades y museos. Junto a los grupos participativos hemos desarrollado y probado soluciones tecnológicas durante tres años.

Cada grupo ARCHES realizó su propia investigación, teniendo en cuenta los intereses de los participantes y las condiciones del propio museo. La experiencia de todos ellos nos ha permitido desarrollar materiales y recursos tecnológicos que facilitan el acceso a nuestras colecciones.

En este taller vamos a compartir nuestras principales experiencias y aprendizajes: la metodología que utilizamos, cómo hemos preparado un proyecto como este y algunas actividades inclusivas que hemos hecho para explorar el museo y nuestras capacidades.

Compartiremos ejemplos de las actividades que han funcionado y las que no. Este evento se complementará con una serie de talleres en museos europeos durante el otoño e invierno y un evento final en Madrid, el 7 de noviembre del 2019 (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza). Será en el marco de estos eventos en los que se presentarán las soluciones tecnológicas y algunos de los proyectos de los participantes de los grupos de ARCHES.

 

Imágenes de la investigación participativa del proyecto ARCHES

Horarios

 

Primera sesión, 9 – 10:30 h:

  • Introducción a ARCHES
  • Romper barreras del concepto de discapacidad

Pausa

Segunda sesión, 11 – 12 h:

  • Cómo organizar un proyecto: compartiendo experiencias

Pausa

Tercera sesión, 12:30 – 13:30:

  • Planificación y modelos de trabajo
  • Actividades inclusivas

Clausura 13:30 – 14:00

  • Clausura del taller

15:30 – 17 h

  • Visita inclusiva al museo (opcional)

El proyecto ARCHES

 

Nuestro objetivo es crear entornos culturales más inclusivos para las personas con discapacidad sensorial y/o cognitiva mediante un proceso de investigación que conduce al desarrollo y la validación de funcionalidades, aplicaciones y experiencias innovadoras a partir de la reutilización de recursos digitales.

ARCHES se basa en tres puntos esenciales: una metodología participativa de investigación, la reutilización de los recursos digitales existentes y el desarrollo de tecnologías innovadoras.

Obviamente, ARCHES no es el primer proyecto sobre accesibilidad en museos, ni el único. Colaboramos con otros proyectos y redes internacionales, con la finalidad de crear sinergias en el campo de la inclusión y accesibilidad a la cultura.

 

Imágenes de la investigación participativa en el proyecto ARCHES

Equipo

 

Helena García Carrizosa es una Investigadora del proyecto ARCHES. Helena trabaja cerca en conjunto con los diferentes museos y con los grupos participativos para probar y evaluar las diferentes tecnologías. Al ser ella misma discapacitada, tiene una experiencia personal de primera mano de los obstáculos y dificultades a los que se enfrentan las personas con deficiencias sensoriales en el día a día, especialmente en el sector de los museos. Anteriormente, Helena trabajó en diferentes museos y galerías internacionales, como el Peggy Guggenheim Collection de Venecia, la National Gallery de Londres y el Völkerkunde Museum de Hamburgo. Tiene dos maestrías, una en Historia del Arte, Cultura Renacentista y Curaduría del Warburg Institute de Londres y la otra en Educación en Museos y Galerías del UCL-Instituto de Educación.

Jara Díaz Alberola es Responsable del proyecto ARCHES en el Museo Lázaro Galdiano desde 2016. Estudió Historia del Arte en la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) y Máster en Art Museum and Gallery Studies en la University of Leicester en Inglaterra. Especialista en educación por la Universitat de Valencia y la Universidad Complutense y en Gestión Cultural por la UOC. Tiene más de diez años de experiencia como educadora de museos y gestora cultural. Ha trabajado para diversas instituciones en España y Reino Unido como Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow y CaixaForum. Ha coordinado diversos proyectos culturales, sociales y educativos y ha impartido numerosos cursos y conferencias sobre arte, educación y accesibilidad.

Elena Aparicio Mainar ha sido coordinadora de Accesibilidad del Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, del Museo Picasso Málaga y actualmente coordina el proyecto ARCHES en el Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. Es historiadora del arte por la Universitat Rovira i Virgili de Tarragona, museóloga y gestora cultural por la Universitat de Barcelona, especialista en educación de museos por instituciones como el MoMA de Nueva York o el Museum of Fine Arts de Boston (MFA) y en accesibilidad educativa y cultural por la UNIA y diversas entidades especializadas, como Fundación ONCE o Cooperativa Altavoz. Desde 1995 ha creado programas curatoriales, educativos y sociales donde se promueve la participación activa y la inclusión efectiva a través del arte en proyectos y entidades nacionales e internacionales.

Felicitas Sisinni es educadora del Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, donde coordina el grupo de investigación del proyecto ARCHES. Tras finalizar sus estudios de Periodismo e Historia del Arte en Madrid, realizó un máster en Educación en Museos en el Institute of Education (UCL) de Londres. Ha trabajado como educadora y gestora cultural en diferentes instituciones culturales de Europa y África, y continúa investigando sobre la creación de experiencias significativas para aumentar el acceso y la inclusión. Actualmente está en baja por maternidad y regresará en septiembre.

Moritz Neumüller (Linz, Austria, 1972) vive y trabaja como comisario independiente en Barcelona. Se ha licenciado en dos carreras, Historia del Arte y Economía, y tiene un doctorado interdisciplinar sobre nuevos medios de la Universidad de Viena. Ha trabajado para instituciones como el Museum of Modern Art en Nueva York, y fue ahí donde vio por primera vez una Touch Tour para visitantes invidentes. Diez años más tarde, Neumüller creó sus propios proyectos para abrir el arte a un amplio público, incluyendo las personas con deficiencias sensoriales y cognitivas. Este empeño en facilitar el acceso a la cultura y el conocimiento para todos se refleja en la iniciativa ArteConTacto, y el proyecto MUSEUM FOR ALL. Desde 2016, es director de comunicación del proyecto ARCHES.

CONFERENCE The Museum for All People: April 2-5, 2019

The Museum for All People:

Art, Accessibility and Social Inclusion

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE, Madrid, April 2-5, 2019

The MUSACCES Consortium (UCM-UNED-AUM) cordially invites you to participate in the International Conference «The Museum for all people: art, accessibility and social inclusion», that will be held on April 2-5, 2019, in the city of Madrid.

The conference aims to provide a forum for exchange and debate among museum managers, professors, researchers, artists, students and cultural practitioners regarding improving access in art museums to all people, regardless of any specific needs they may have.

Participation in the conference will be open to contributions via a Call for papers. Moreover, the conference will have breakup sessions, specific seminars, concurrent activities and will feature internationally renowned speakers.

This International Conference seeks to become a forum for reflection on the conceptual problems in the definition of the museum for all. We are confident that the overlap between intellectual interdisciplinary borders (art history, cultural heritage, museology, art criticism, aesthetics, communication, education, tourism, technology, preservation and restoration, etc.) will allow us to propose strategies for cultural action devised to expand accessibility in the museum to all people.

Key Dates

15
February 2019

abstract submission
deadline

18
February 2019

abstracts acceptance notification

28
February 2019

early registration
deadline

2
April 2019

opening ceremony

State of Museum Access 2018 (Repost)

State of Museum Access 2018: does your museum website welcome and inform disabled visitors?

The State of Museum Access 2018 comprises guidance to help museums create or review the information that they provide online, in order to:

  • welcome potential visitors with disabilities
  • inform visitors of any barriers to access at the museum
  • reassure visitors that the museum has worked or is actively working to remove them

Our audit of the websites of UK accredited museums found that one in five (19%) failed to provide any access information online. While this indicates an improvement from 2016 when the figure was 27%, our research also revealed that the level of detail provided is generally very poor. The majority of museums provide basic information for people with mobility impairment only; which does not address the access needs of millions of UK citizens and potential visitors, their families and friends.

To support museums to become more inclusive to all visitors the State of Museum Access 2018 contains comprehensive guidelines on: the types of access information a museum should provide; how to communicate with potential disabled visitors; providing information in a range of accessible formats; developing staff disability awareness; and providing detailed information about how to reach the museum.

Five audience groups are addressed within the report – autistic people and people with a learning disability, blind and partially sighted people, D/deaf and hard of hearing people, people with dementia, people with mobility impairments – which together form a large proportion of disabled people. For each audience group we recommend the particular information, resources, facilities and accessible events that a museum can provide to welcome and support them.

Furthermore there are tips on setting up an access panel or disability advisory group, which can help a museum to best address visitor needs when developing both on site and online provision.

Finally, we present an access showcase, celebrating good practice at museums across the UK, with links to over 50 organisations’ websites, which we hope will inform and inspire.

We encourage museums to make the Museum Access Pledge (#MuseumAccessPledge) to close the disability engagement gap, and ensure everyone is welcome at the UK’s museums, galleries and heritage sites.


‘We are a museum that aims to provide access for all visitors and welcome the publication of the State of Museum Access 2018 report. The greatest barrier for disabled people visiting our cultural institutions is the lack of relevant access information on facilities and services. This report gives practical guidance on how to provide information which will greatly benefit organisations in becoming more accessible and enabling disabled people to embrace our cultural institutions.’ Barry Ginley, Equality and Access Adviser, Victoria & Albert Museum

‘Accentuate fully supports the launch of this important report.  Through our work with the History of Place project we have collaborated with a range of Museums as we believe that deaf and disabled people have a right to access heritage and culture. This report gives an excellent overview of what is working well in the sector as well as practical advice and guidance so museums and heritage sites can improve their offer.  By working together we can ensure more deaf and disabled people have better access to our shared heritage.’ Esther Fox, Head of Accentuate Programme, Screen South

The Disability Co-operative Network for Museums warmly welcomes the State of Museum Access 2018 report. We commend each and every museum and heritage organisation who like us and our colleagues are working collaboratively in creating inclusive practice to widen engagement with their history and heritage. At this present time with reduction in staff and funding, it’s critical that museums and the sector look for opportunity to extend engagement and work together. Becki Morris, Lead of DCN


State of Museum Access 2018 is available to download in PDF and Large Print format (text-only) at the end of this page.

Notes for editors

The report authors are:

  • Matthew Cock, Chief Executive, VocalEyes
  • Molly Bretton, Access Manager, Royal Academy
  • Richard France, Subtitling Services Manager, Stagetext
  • Anna Fineman, Museum and Heritage Programme Manager, VocalEyes
  • Claire Madge, Founder, Autism in Museums
  • Melanie Sharpe, Chief Executive, Stagetext

For enquiries about the report, please contact Matthew Cock (matthew@vocaleyes.co.uk or 020 7375 1043) in the first instance.

VocalEyes

VocalEyes believes that blind and partially sighted people have an equal right to experience and enjoy arts and culture. Founded in 1998, VocalEyes’ audio describers and trainers work with theatres and museums across the UK to improve access to their performances, events, exhibitions and venues. VocalEyes is a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England. VocalEyes’ museum programme is also generously supported by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.

Stagetext (stagetext.org)

Stagetext is a registered charity which provides captioning and live subtitling services to theatres, museums and other arts venues to make their activities accessible to people who are d/Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing. Established in 2000, Stagetext are committed to improving access to the performing arts for all deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people. Stagetext is a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England.

Autism in Museums (autisminmuseums.com)

Autism in Museums is an initiative to raise awareness of accessibility for all in museums. It has been created by Claire Madge who had been sharing autism in museums best practice and events
on her blog Tincture of Museum since 2012.

Image: Colourful sensory backpacks available to borrow for free for autistic children and young people at the National Museum of Scotland.

ARCHES Project

ARCHES is a European project involving people with differences and difficulties associated with perception, memory, cognition and communication. Funded by the H2020 program, it aims to improve access to Museums and other Cultural Heritage Sites. ARCHES stands for Accessible Resources for Cultural Heritage EcoSystems. The Consoritum consists of museums, technology companies, universities and experts in making culture more accessible to everybody. Together, these partners will develop online resources, software applications and multisensory technologies.

The Open University and Bath University are leading the research for ARCHES. In the first year the participatory research groups will be exploring the museum and coming up with ideas for new technologies and activities. Each week there will be different activities within the museum. Together with the participants, the researchers will find the best ways to identify, capture and record their experiences and views. They will use cameras, sound recorders, video cameras, interviews, questionnaires, note taking, drawings, smart phones, tablets and different types of software.

In the second year the technological partners will be testing and redeveloping those technologies. In the third year, the consortium will be checking the new technologies are ready to use for other museums.

More details at the ARCHES Website, Facebook and Twitter.

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ARCHES has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 693229.

 

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