Accessibility in Museums: Creating an Inclusive Cultural Landscape

Museums + Heritage Advisor is a U.K. based platform that serves up the latest industry news and insight with features, incisive comment and in-depth project case studies, plus the sector’s most comprehensive directory. In 2015, Museums + Heritage Advisor featured six profiles of museums and heritage attractions that have made gains in their accessibility profile and thereby made themselves more inclusive. Some of these cultural attractions include the following:

·         Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  This Winnipeg icon stands as the first and only museum on earth devoted to human rights awareness and education. Opened in 2014, the museum was designed with the help of an Inclusive Design Advisory Council which worked with museum staff and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities. The museum staff believe accessibility is ingrained in their mindset and is one factor of the project’s success.

·         Museo Del Prado. This Madrid museum is known for creating inclusive exhibitions. One such venture, ‘Touching the Prado’ was specifically targeted for the participation for people who are visually impaired. Six 3D touchable images of masterpieces in its collection were reproduced using a relief printing technique developed by Estudios Durero, a specialist printing company. This added volume to what would usually be a flat surface, gives the visitor a tactile experience.

·         School of Museum Studies.  Leicester University in the U.K. researched iBeacon technology and its potential for people with disabilities. The iBeacons are placed around the venue and emit signals which interact with smartphones to play music or dialogue when the visitor approaches the exhibit.

·         The National Trust. Britain’s largest conservation organization looks after historical houses, buildings and gardens around the U.K. A major renovation project at Beningbrough Hall near York ten years ago has made the Georgian estate accessible both indoors and out.

For more information about creating a barrier free cultural landscape, click here.