Association of Science - Technology Centers
About ASTC
About Science Centers
Annual Conference
Exhibition Services
Professional Development
Resource Center
  Accessible Practices
Museums' Legal Obligations
Disability Rights Movement
Access Advisors
Access Survey
Access Plan
Best Practices
Behind the Scenes
Links & Publication
Equity and Diversity
Making the Case
Science Center Planning
Visitor Studies
Youth Programs
Products and Services
Older Adults in Science Centers

Resource Center

Accessible PracticesBest PracticesExhibits, Programs, Facilities

Experience has repeatedly shown that accommodations designed to serve disabled persons generally improve the quality of programs for the broader public audience. In short, museums cannot afford not to make their programs accessible to all visitors.
—Janice Majewski, Smithsonian Institution Accessibility Program Coordinator, The Arts and 504, 1992.

These are links and publications we have found helpful.


Barrier Free Education
The goal of this resource site is to help students with disabilities gain access to math and science education. The site provides advice to educators on creating curricula for students with various physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities and gives examples of lab experiments. The site also provides links to readings on disabilities, on the concept of accessibility, access technologies, and curriculum design. The listserv associated with this site is a forum for discussing these topics.

Design for Accessibility: An Arts Administrators Guide. Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts, 1994.
A step-by-step 700-page guide of checklists, resources, and examples designed to assist cultural institutions in making programs and facilities comfortably available to the broadest public. To order, contact the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies at 202/347-6352.

Everyone's Welcome: the Americans with Disabilities Act and Museums. Washington, DC: American Association of Museums, 1999.
A manual for museum professionals to help them better understand and meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Recommendations address concerns for visitors with a range of physical and learning disabilities. Available with supplemental materials through the American Association of Museums (AAM);

Part of Your General Public Is Disabled: A Handbook for Guides in Museums, Zoos, and Historic Houses. Janice Majewski. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1987.
Well-trained docents may be your most important accessibility resource. This book and video make a strong training package. The book is an excellent resource of specific accessibility information. Available from ASTC Publications as a book alone.

Planning for People in Museum Exhibitions. Kathleen McLean. Washington, DC: Association of Science-Technology Centers, 1996.
This book provides museum professionals with a broad understanding of the many disciplines needed to produce effective exhibitions, from industrial, graphic, and interior design to writing, editing, psychology, and management. Appendices lay out an approach to exhibition critiques and provide guidelines for using environmentally friendly materials. Available through ASTC Publications.

Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design. Smithsonian Accessibility Program. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996.
A Smithsonian standards manual for accessible exhibitions, publications, and media. To receive a free copy (also available in large print, audiocassette, or Braille) write to the Smithsonian Accessibility Program, Smithsonian Institution, Arts and Industries Building, Room 1239 MRC 426, Washington, DC 20560; 202/357-2700; TTY 202/357-1729; or e-mail

User Friendly: Hands-On Exhibits That Work. Jeff Kennedy. Washington, DC: Association of Science-Technology Centers, 1990.
Offers solutions to common human-factor problems specific to hands-on exhibits. This book covers such topics as designing legible, accessible labels; designing user-friendly viewers and eyepieces; selecting exhibit controls (such as joy sticks, handles, levers, and pushbuttons); and the use of interactive video. Available from ASTC Publications.


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.

return to top
About ASTC | About Science Centers | Annual Conference | Exhibition Services
  Professional Development | Publications | Resource Center | ASTC Home  

ASTC Home Find a Science Center