Museum Accessibility by Design. A Systemic Approach to Organizational Change

  1. The text broadens the concept of access and offers suggestions for its development within museums. It considers a variety of constraints while delving into critical learning and strategies designed to break down common prejudices. It looks at accessibility from a user-design perspective, in which the museum experience revolves around visitors and any needs, desires, and motivations they may have, whether their needs are permanent, temporary, or situational. Accessibility is valuable not only because it facilitates everyone’s experience but also because it nudges people’s behavior in predictable and constructive ways. For this reason, the volume also places significant emphasis on usability, attention renewal, and other key cognitive issues that are usually excluded from the conversation around accessibility: topics that, in this field, are equally essential, despite being more prevalent in design studies and environmental psychology.
  2. Accessibility is not for the sole benefit of people with disabilities. While fully espousing the social model whereby context contributes substantially to the definition of disability, the book takes a more analytical, interdisciplinary, and multifaceted look both at people and at barriers. Disability finds many obstacles in today’s world: The disadvantages encountered by this group are certainly evident and need to be dismantled through specific actions. At the same time, however, any classification represents a theoretical and cultural assumption that tends to look at people through a limited lens and risks oversimplifying valuable complexities: for example, in terms of age, interests, motivation. Disability is a way of being in the world, and accessibility, in the conventional sense of the word, cannot promote inclusion alone. On this basis, this book asks whether it is necessary to adopt a new, more spontaneous approach to disability while addressing accessibility more rigorously. For this reason, the book mentions disability frequently, but it refers to audiences in the broadest sense of the term.
  3. This volume promotes a systemic perspective that allows readers to see museum accessibility as a structured process addressed to answer multiple and overlapped needs rather than an incremental adoption of singular guidelines for a few. Even a small action implemented by a museum needs to be part of a strategic framework that establishes shared policies. This process needs to ground itself in context analysis, clearly defined goals, and plans for their implementation. Accessibility cannot be left solely to educators or experts in the field: Entire institutions, with the help of accessibility project managers, should harbor the common objectives that demarcate boundaries and expand mutual responsibilities.
  4. This book proposes an operational and not merely theoretical approach to museum accessibility. It suggests concrete activities like structured workshops with step-by-step staff training and provides specific examples and good practices from different parts of the world.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
M. Chiara Ciaccheri

M. Chiara Ciaccheri

I am a freelance museum professional, practice-led researcher and lecturer, working on accessibility and interpretation. My website is mariachiaraciaccheri.com