Most museums attempt to achieve full accessibility for all members of their community, however few adults with disabilities in the United States engage with the arts. In 2012 only 23.3% attended a live performing arts event, and 25% attended a visual arts event. Fortunately, technological innovations are increasing opportunities for visually impaired patrons to engage with the arts. There are four common approaches for serving these members of the community: seeing-through-touch tours, beacon technology, expressive audio description, and apps on personal devices. Both expressive audio description and apps may be categorized as emerging technologies, while beacon technology continues to improve. Seeing-through-touch tours are often specifically designed to serve visually impaired patrons, but the delivery of the custom tour is person to person. Technology interfaces offer alternatives for both users and institutions to more deeply engage with visual art.
Elizabeth Long’s latest white paper explores how these experience enhancements, and the development and implementation of new programs and resources can increase museum accessibility for low-vision and blind individuals. It provide an overview of what is possible for museums and other visually-oriented art forms. Read the full report here!