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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.

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Stats on Museum Internships by Jim Richardson

Repost from https://www.museumnext.com/2017/07/stats-on-museum-internships/

Eye Opening Stats on Museum Internships

Internships offer a valuable way for young people interested in working in museums to learn more about the opportunities that the sector offers them. In a sought-after profession it seems almost expected that even the most junior applicant will have some experience and internships help to provide this.

We asked the MuseumNext community for their experiences of internships and found that 59% of the museum professionals questioned had done internships before starting work. These individuals felt that being interns had helped their careers, with 39% describing it as very useful.

The time spent as interns varied widely, but 25% of those who had undertaken an internships in a museum had done so for over 12 months, with just 4% spending doing so for less than a month.

A staggering 48% of these people received no pay for their work as interns, with only 8% receiving a living wage.

Having looked at their experience as interns, we now asked them about current practice in the museums they worked in.

88% of those responding to our survey said that their museum offered internships. The renumeration for these internships mirrors the experience of those currently working in museums with 53% receiving no pay for their work.

We also dug further, asking museum professionals for their views on internships.

‘They should always be paid! Unpaid internships perpetuate a lack of diversity in the field because only some folks can afford to work for free’.

‘Worth it for the experience, but tend to only be available to those with money behind them’

‘I got my job from my internship’

‘They’re unfair but necessary in the sector. They favour wealthy people whose parents can afford to help them financially’

‘No pay was an issue for me. Although individual staff made me feel welcome and valued, the lack of financial support was financially challenging. For many the lack of pay would have acted as a barrier into gaining experience into the sector.’

‘They are far from ideal, but an unfortunate reality of our current system’

‘Our current approach is to offer flexibility to allow interns to take on paid work around the internship, and to limit the length of internships to a few weeks. We also ensure there is a learning and development plan for each intern, so that the internship is tailored to their training needs,  and provide training and mentoring as required. We are seeking funding to allow us to provide a living wage in future.’

‘I completed several internships throughout my education. Every one of them useful to my career only because of the great leadership that guided and mentored me. They made my time at those institutions well worth it, fun, and educational. I can’t stress enough how important internships are to young aspiring museum professionals.’

‘Our interns receive minimum wage, which is set in the United States at $7.25/hour unless a state chooses to pay more, which mine does not. Additionally of all our interns are full-time students at the university where I work, so the liveable wage is tough to answer since the internship pay is not presumably their only means of financial support.’

‘Our industry needs to drastically change it’s reliance on unpaid labor. We need to value our interns appropriately.’

Many comments echo’d the points in our recent piece on the cost of internships to the museum sector. Internships do provide an excellent opportunity for those who can afford them, but this restricts who works in museums.

My fear is that by showing how widespread the practice of interns working for long periods without pay is, this may provide an excuse for others to do the same. But if we want museums to have a positive impact on society, we need to consider how internships can be reformed to be more inclusive and less exploitative.

I think that there is that desire, but how do move towards towards fair paid for interns when funding is limited?

– A note on our research. 420 museum professionals took part in this survey on July 10th 2017, with the majority of these being in Europe and the United States. Participants were recruited from our MuseumNext mailing list and posts on Twitter and Facebook.

About the Author

Jim Richardson is the founder of MuseumNext. He has worked with museums for over 20 years, with 16 years of that leading a creative / digital agency working in the museum space. Jim now splits his time between running MuseumNext and consulting on tech and innovation in the cultural space.

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.

Made a museum a more welcoming place? Apply for a Design for All Foundation Award now!

Photo of Design for All Foundation Awards trophy

Are you passionate about opening up culture to everyone?

The Design for All Foundation is looking for the best Design for All projects undertaken between 1 January 2012 and 1 January 2013. If you’ve been involved in a an inspirational initiative to make a museum or cultural centre more inclusive, we want to hear from you. Be quick though – the deadline is 17 February.

The winners will be announced during a ceremony which will take place during the International Design Biennial in Saint-Étienne, giving your project the chance to shine in front of an international audience.

Find out more on the Design for All Foundation Awards 2013 website.

PS In need of inspiration? Have a look at the museum projects which reached the finals last year in our blog post. Or check out the full list of last year’s winners and finalists on the Design for Foundation website.

Art Beyond Sight Telephone Conference Crash Course – 29 October

As part of Art Beyond Sight awareness month, which also includes this week’s Multimodal Approaches to Learning Conference (see 25 September blog post), a telephone conference crash course will be held on Monday 29 October.

The course, aimed at museum professionals and anyone wishing to improve access to culture, will include professional development sessions on:

  • cost and cost-effectiveness of accessibility programmes
  • website accessibility
  • grant writing and accessibility

The course will also explore audience research and engagement for small museums and present challenges and successes of pilot programmes, as well as featuring a roundtable of docents (museum guides).

You can find the full programme, along with information about all the Art Beyond Sight awareness month activities, on the Art Beyond Sight website.

Repost: Helpful Hints to Assure a Meaningful and Memorable Visit for Blind and Visually Impaired

Museums: Helpful Hints to Assure a Meaningful and Memorable Visit for Blind and Visually Impaired

By Patricia M Brown

1. First and foremost, be sure to follow American’s with Disabilities Act 1990/ADA (amended) accommodation recommendations. These recommendations are important to the safety and accessibility of your Blind and Visually Impaired individual. Be familiar with amended or updated ADA regulations.

2. Follow American’s with Disabilities Act 1990/ADA guidelines for Braille signage.

3. Consider a large print bound copy of your museum guide, pamphlets, handouts or educational materials. Large print materials may be offered as a print bound copy that is re-usable or as a “Take Away” item that can be taken as a resource or reference item. Large print is usually considered 14-16 point print or larger (16 or 18 point print would be sufficient to assist many visually impaired individuals.) Materials should be presented in a high contrast and bold simple font on plain white background. Large print materials will assist many of your visually impaired visitors.

4. Be sure to offer good lighting on all print materials throughout your museum.

5. Consider offering museum guides, pamphlets, handouts or educational materials in Braille format. They may also be offered as re-usable bound Braille materials or as a “Take Away” item that can be taken as a resource or reference item. Take-Away Braille educational materials are a particularly helpful reference/ resource for the student visitor. Braille materials would need pre-preparation by a Braille transcriber.

6. Be sure to greet your blind and visually impaired guest and offer specific information about the layout of your museum, specific exhibits and specialized accommodations available to them.

7. Directly address your blind guest instead of speaking “through” their companions. Your blind & visually impaired guest will appreciate the consideration you have made to address their specific questions, familiarize them with your museum and help them to maximize their overall experience.

8. Museums offering school field trips/educational events for children benefit from prior notification of any Braille or large print accessibility requirements. Prior notification will allow ample time for preparation of materials. Full participation is the goal for the visually impaired/blind student. Educational materials/handouts require pre-preparation (by a Braille transcriber) in order to have materials transcribed/embossed into Braille.

9. Children sections should have at least one set of crayons labeled with Braille for easy identification. Even children that slowly lose their vision or become blind early in life enjoy arts & crafts. It is important to recognize that whatever the case, blind & visually impaired children also enjoy individualized creativity and the ability to choose their own colors. Having a set of Braille labeled crayons on hand will certainly say everything about your readiness to address blindness accommodations.

10. Children’s activities such as picture and coloring activities can be adapted to incorporate tactile-kinesthetic components using a tracing wheel (available in most sewing departments) or using tactual markings such as “Wikki Stix” or dried glue to outline pictures. Ex: Using a tracing wheel to trace an insect or dinosaur picture (upside down) will result in a raised tactual outline for a blind student to actually follow. Use bold markers to outline pictures & coloring activities (for easier viewing) for the visually impaired child. Play Dough, clay and paper crimpers also add nice tactual components to art projects.

11. Encourage your blind & visually impaired visitors to actually explore exhibits and encourage your visually impaired visitor to view exhibits up close.

12. Be aware that your blind visitor may be using a guide dog. These dogs are specially trained dogs to do a specific job and are considered “working dogs”. Staff should inquire with the blind individual on appropriate interaction with the dog.

13. Invest the time to inform your blind visitors about the various accommodations you have put in place for the blind population such as: Braille museum guide books, Braille pamphlets, Braille handouts and Braille “take away items”, Braille menus, or specific machines marked or embossed in Braille such as: vending machines, soda machines or ATM’s”.

14. Consider offering Braille format for some of your museums most important historical sayings, quotes, or historical documents for your blind guest to refer to when navigating through your museum.

15. Braille and large print atlas & maps are available from specialized catalogues for blind & visually impaired individuals. If your exhibit includes maps be sure to remember that Braille maps may contribute nicely for the blind visitor.

16. Many Braille storybooks are already commercially available. So remember, if you have an exhibit of a famous American, inventor or famous woman in America such as Helen Keller or Amelia Earhart, it may already be available for purchase in Braille. A Braille transcriber/embosser can also Braille up Museum short stories or specific written materials used by your Museum.

17. Consider offering audio description of exhibits that are fragile, or visual in nature.

18. Tactual markers such as “Maxi Marks”, “Bump Dots”, “Spot ‘N Line” and “Hi Marks” are tactual marking tools. They can be used to identify specific items or to mark specific interactive push button displays. They are available in different sizes, shapes and textures and are commercially available at product suppliers for the visually impaired and blind. Tactual markers should be used on a limited basis for specific identification purposes. Be sure to inform you blind & visually impaired visitor should you incorporate any of these specific tactual marker accommodations into your exhibits.

19. Remember that your blind visitor will spread the word should they experience a meaningful, informative and enjoyable visit to your museum.

20. Be sure to advertise your specialized accommodations whether large print or Braille on your website. Screen readers provide blind & visually impaired the ability to access website material and review accommodations available.

Patricia Brown, M.Ed., as the owner of http://www.braillethis.com, has worked over 30 years in the field of special education, learning disabilities and blind & partially sighted. Visit her website for more information on braille transcription of Literary and Nemeth materials, transcription of manuals, pamphlets, menus, educational handouts, Braille adaptations of toddler books, binding and Braille interlining services.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Patricia_M_Brown

Accessibility Checklists from the Berlin Museums

The Association of Museums in Berlin (LMB) provide checklists for exhibition design for visitors with special needs.

Please find this information in German on their Website. If you want to contribute to make this information available in English, please get back to us, as we are working on similar guidelines and checklists.

Together, we will be stronger. OK, at least, we will be more efficient.

Here comes the information from the LMB’s website, anyways.

Best, the Museum For All team.

Email: info(at)museumforall.eu


Barrierefreiheit

Checkliste zur Konzeption und Gestaltung von barrierefreien Ausstellungen

Die hier zum Download bereit stehende Checkliste zur Konzeption und Gestaltung von barrierefreien Ausstellungen wurde von einer Arbeitsgruppe des Landesverbandes der Museen zu Berlin e.V. (LMB) entwickelt. Zu dieser AG gehören Architekten für barrierefreies Bauen, Museumspädagogen, Museumsmitarbeiter und Ausstellungsgestalter sowie auch sehbehinderte, blinde und hörgeschädigte Menschen. Darüber hinaus wurde die Liste mit Betroffenenverbänden des Landesbeirats für Menschen mit Behinderung sowie dem Landesbeauftragten für Menschen mit Behinderungen abgestimmt.

Die Checkliste wird nun der Öffentlichkeit vorgelegt und einem Praxistest unterzogen. Kommentare und Vorschläge von Seiten der Anwender sind dabei willkommen. Sie sind zu richten an: barrierefrei@lmb.museum. Die daraus gewonnenen Erkenntnisse werden in eine aktualisierte Version der Checkliste einfließen.

Inhalt:

Die Checkliste zur Konzeption und Gestaltung von barrierefreien Ausstellungen gliedert sich in die Präambel und die vier Abschnitte:

Präambel
Teil 1: Checkliste Bewegen
Teil 2: Checkliste Sehen
Teil 3: Checkliste Hören
Teil 4: Checkliste Verstehen
mit jeweils kurzen Erläuterungen zum Ausfüllen