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Accessible PracticesAccess Advisors
I believe it is the combination of physical accommodation and mutual respect that is the important factor in making musuems accessible.
—Dianne Pilgrim, Director of Cooper-Hewitt Museum,
The Accessible Museum, 1992.

Teaming up with people with personal and professional experience with disabilities facilitates the process of making your science center or museum more accessible. It is important that you work with professionals familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and people with various disabilities. Each of these groups of people has unique contributions that will prove essential as you work to open your science center or museum to a wider audience.

ADA professionals help to sort out museums' obligations to the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. They are familiar with doing access surveys and can answer your legal questions. Persons with disabilities help to connect the ADA guidelines to human factors by sharing their experiences and demonstrating their preferences. Additionally, they may assist you in educating staff, volunteers, and board members about access issues. The connections you make will help to effectively market your science center and its programs to groups and individuals in the disability community. ADA professionals may or may not have a disability, and the people with disabilities may or may not be ADA professionals.

A goal is to create an atmosphere where everyone feels that he or she has something to contribute and something to learn. A measure of success can be the extent to which people with disabilities talk openly and matter-of-factly, both about what works for them and what doesn't, and the extent to which museum professionals feel free to voice their concerns as well as their passions. You will need to establish with your advisors how their feedback will be incorporated into the museum's operations. Some museums prefer to call individual advisors on an informal basis while others prefer an advisory group that meets regularly on a variety of projects. The pages below go into more detail about working with advisors who are ADA professionals or people with disabilities. These pages provide information on where to look for access advisors as well as descriptions of working relationships with them.

 

This web site is not intended to offer legal, architectural, engineering, or similar professional advice. Refer specific questions to an attorney or an ADA authority.

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