What it means

“Giving equitable access to everyone along the continuum of human ability and experience,”* accessibility is an inseparable component of DEAI (Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion) initiatives. Museum accessibility is also covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, a law that protects people with disabilities from discrimination ensuring greater access, inclusion, and equal opportunity).

How it’s used

As part of approaching museum work with a DEAI lens, accessibility can be applied across every touchpoint anyone has with a museum. From navigating onsite and online spaces to understanding and engaging with what a museum has to offer, accessibility means opening the museum experience up to the widest audience possible.

For museum spaces and experiences onsite and online, this means designing user pathways or offering devices that support a person’s ability to navigate and experience the museum despite visual, mobility, auditory, or cognitive limitations. Examples include but are not limited to providing mobility aids, such as wheelchairs as well as tactile guide paths and visual information in the building, ensuring a website that meets web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards, and designing programs for people with hearing or visual impairment.

Marketing, communications, and audience engagement professionals should take every opportunity to produce materials that are as accessible as possible as they help the museum communicate with the public and work with various departments to convey the many ways the museum prioritizes accessibility for all.

Why it matters

If museums exist to engage audiences, we must broaden our concept of diversity to go beyond race, ethnicity, gender, intersectionality, culture, religion, or socio-economic factors to also include all types of physical ability. Accessibility encompasses more than just organizational compliance; it is an opportunity at every department level to create a welcoming environment for people to access experiences at every level and pace.

*From AAM’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity and Inclusion page


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