How accessible is your museum? Can everyone in your local community enjoy your exhibitions? How are you supporting visitors who need additional support? The new accreditation standard proposes that museums must demonstate how they make their collections available for everyone. Can your museum demonstrate that collections are available for everyone?
There are simple things that your museum can implement. The following “top tips” were discussed at a Accessible Museums seminar.
- Take a holistic view of supporting access, look at all areas of your operation, and incorporate access improvements to all of these. Don’t just focus on one area, i.e. exhibitions.
- Work with your local communities. Build links and encourage community members to become ambassadors for your museum.
- Tactile maps and images really help blind people. These can be manfactured really cheaply on Zychem paper.
- Audio tours that provide directions around a building are really useful.
- Audio descriptions of pictures, objects and exhibitions are beneficial.
- Handling objects are great, but ensure that audio & signed descriptions are available.
- Don’t forget about smells! Smells can add ambience. Smelly boxes can be purchased for just a few pounds.
- Train your staff and volunteers, and get “buy in” across the organisation.
- Pilot all access materials with users.