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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Museum's need to be more helpful and accessible

My name is Nicole, I am an intern at the Detroit Historical Society. I am working on making the museum more accessible for visitors who are blind or visually impaired. I have been doing a lot of research and I have been talking with companies to have braille brochures, have staff training on how to help if needed, and audio tours with triggers set about the museum. Our goal is to have to best visitor services we can have for everyone, that means a safe and enjoyable experience. I am on here because all the research does no good if I don't ask for help in understanding the needs and wants of visitors who are blind or visually impaired . What would you expect from a museum? What would make the experience amazing and more fulfilling? What resources are there for me to use to reach our goals? Is there anything you can think of that would help me make our museum a great place to visit for you and loved ones? What are museums doing that you loved and hated?
Thank you so much for your help, hope everyone has a great day!

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Re: Museum's need to be more helpful and accessible

Thank you so much mike for the response. I am adding touch tours to my project for they seem like the best way to have a great experience. A thought that was proven with your comment about your visit to the Henry Ford Museum. Thanks again.

Re: Museum's need to be more helpful and accessible

Both consumer organizations, the American Council of the Blind and theNational Federation of the Blind, have groups under their umbrellas which focus on access to the arts. I know that members of those organizations will be happy to give you lots of very specific feedback from a variety of perspectives. The website for Friends in Art is The current president is Lynn Hedl, While the NFB doesn't seem to have one specifically for this purpose, I would think that they would be able to provide input as well. They do have a Krafters group (spelled in exactly that way) who might have good input. I would also encourage you to contact Horizons for the Blind in Illinois. The director of that organization, Camille Caffarelli, founded it in the 70's specifically to address museum access issues. You can find more about them at Art Beyond Sight is another fabulous resource. They do lots of work on arts accessibility and even have an annual conference on the subject. Find them at Hope this is useful.

Don Horn
Vocational rehabilitation counselor

Re: Museum's need to be more helpful and accessible

Mike thank you so much for your response, it is very helpful!

Re: Museum's need to be more helpful and accessible

Hi Nicole. I love the option of the audio tour with triggers. I took a similar tour of the Eastern State Penitentiary here in Philly, and it was much better than if we didn't have the audio.
I've been to the Ford museum there in Detroit, and it was nice because many of the exhibits were hands-on. I know that many museums have things that can't tolerate hands-on experiences due to various reasons, but for those exhibits that can be touched, that is obviously the best case scenario.

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