Photo Album for New England Facilities & Visitor Services
Workshop, April 2000
The Museum of Science, Boston, was the site of the first Accessible Practices Workshop for museum professionals responsible for facilities and visitor services, held on April 28, 2000.
Hosting the workshop for the Museum of Science were Sheila Aborn, manager of community relations; Frank Robinson, facilities manager; and Larry Bell, vice president for exhibits. Betty Davidson, a project advisor and exhibit planner emeritus at MOS, was also a member of the team and led a group that surveyed an exhibit.
Asking the Museum of Science (MOS) to kick off the Accessible Practices Project was not an accident, Sally Middlebrooks, ASTC's director of education projects, told workshop participants. "Although the MOS staff would be the first to say they have not done it all, or know it all, they have consistently worked to promote accessible practices throughout the museum and always by involving people with disabilities," Middlebrooks said. "We follow that model today."
Involving people with disabilities and professionals who are familiar
with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was a very important
part of all Accessible Practices Workshops. As workshop participants
met and worked on teams with people with disabilities, they understood
more clearly what the challenges of accessibility are. ADA professionals
help to make accessibility guidelines that once seemed meaningless
and confusing, significant and manageable through sharing ideas
The MOS workshop was attended by museum professionals
from the Boston Children's Museum, the USS Constitution,
and the Museum of Fine Arts, as well as three-member teams from
each of the science centers that would be hosting workshops in
their regions. Although other Accessible Practices Workshops focused
either on facilities and visitor services or on exhibits, this
workshop included surveys of all three areas.
Each workshop participant received a thick binder with materials specific
to the day's activities and numerous reference materials. These pages
were either produced by ASTC staff or photocopied with the permission
of the original sources.