Explore the work of VocalEyes – and read the full report and press release.
VocalEyes, in collaboration with Stagetext and Autism in Museums has published the State of Museum Access 2018 and launch the Museum Access Pledge. A major barrier to disabled people visiting museums is the lack of advance information.
In 2018, it is still the case that one in five accredited museums (19%) failed to provide any access information online.
Museum websites are important tools for providing visitor access information, and the absence of this contributes to the ‘disability engagement gap’; where people with a disability are less likely to be regular or frequent visitors of museums than those who are not disabled.
The State of Museum Access 2018 comprises guidance to help museums create or review the information that they provide online, in order to:
- welcome potential visitors with disabilities
- inform visitors of any barriers to access at the museum
- reassure visitors that the museum has worked or is actively working to remove them
The VocalEyes audit of the websites of UK accredited museums found that one in five (19%) failed to provide any access information online. While this indicates an improvement from 2016 when the figure was 27%, the research also revealed that the level of detail provided is generally very poor. The majority of museums provide basic information for people with mobility impairment only; which does not address the access needs of millions of UK citizens and potential visitors, their families and friends.
To support museums to become more inclusive to all visitors the State of Museum Access 2018 contains comprehensive guidelines on: the types of access information a museum should provide; how to communicate with potential disabled visitors; providing information in a range of accessible formats; developing staff disability awareness; and providing detailed information about how to reach the museum.
The majority of museums provide basic information for people with mobility impairment only; which does not address the access needs of millions of UK citizens and potential visitors, their families and friends.
Five audience groups are addressed within the report – autistic people and people with a learning disability, blind and partially sighted people, D/deaf and hard of hearing people, people with dementia, people with mobility impairments – which together form a large proportion of disabled people. For each audience group we recommend the particular information, resources, facilities and accessible events that a museum can provide to welcome and support them.
History of Place supports report
Esther Fox, Head of the Accentuate programme at Screen South, which runs the History of Place project, said:
Accentuate fully supports the launch of this important report. Through the History of Place project we have collaborated with a range of museums as we believe that deaf and disabled people have a right to access heritage and culture. This report gives an excellent overview of what is working well in the sector as well as practical advice and guidance so museums and heritage sites can improve their offer. By working together we can ensure more deaf and disabled people have better access to our shared heritage.
The full VocalEyes report is at the bottom of this page, including a large print version.