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Accessible PracticesWorkshopsPhoto Album

Photo Album for New England Facilities & Visitor Services Workshop, April 2000

Measuring access

In the morning participants worked in small groups to conduct an access survey, and in the afternoon they wrote transition/implementation plans. Each group of museum professionals was led by an ADA professional and included two or more people with disabilities.

Project Advisor, Ellen Rubin, sits listening with her white cane in her lap. Ellen Rubin (right) was a member of the group focusing on visitor services. She is an advisor for the Accessible Practices project. Rubin, who is blind, works at Educational Equity Concepts Inc., a nonprofit organization located in New York City that produces nonbiased science curricula. Among other contributions, Rubin brought to the discussion not only the perspective of a person who is blind, but also that of an accessibility consultant who has worked with a variety of educational institutions.

William Raeder picks up a phone at a hands-on exhibition element. William Raeder (left) accepted the invitation of the MOS team to bring his personal perspective as a person with multiple disabilities to the discussion. Raeder is the president of the National Braille Press Inc. and has served as an overseer for the Museum of Science.

Armed with the Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal developed by Adaptive Environments, each group surveyed a bathroom and a path of travel. The groups led by ADA professionals Michael Muehe and Kathy Gips concentrated on facilities, with one checking emergency egress and the other looking at parking. The two other groups, led by Myra Berloff and Renee Wells, the accessibility consultant for the Vermont Arts Council, examined visitor services. Berloff surveyed the gift shop, while Wells assessed the food court.

Betty Davidson, project advisor and MOS exhibit planner emeritus, led a group that looked specifically at exhibits. They visited Investigate!, a permanent exhibition that encourages visitors to answer science questions through experiments of their own design. Group members worked in pairs to survey different exhibit components, including various assistive technologies.

Roy Griffiths holds a checklist while Mary Dussault measures the height of a counter. The photo at left shows Mary Dussault, education specialist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and Roy Griffiths, vice president for exhibits at the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science, using the checklist to measure counter heights and reach. Invited by Davidson, who uses a scooter, to experience an exhibit from a different perspective, Griffiths sits in a wheelchair to measure counter top height and reach ranges for controls.

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