Museum Access Information Guidelines 2016
Develop the access information on your website with support from these guidelines by VocalEyes.
These guidelines are designed to help improve the access information provided by museums, in particular for blind and partially sighted people. They are published alongside 'State of Museum Access 2016: a survey of UK museum access information for blind and partially sighted visitors', a report which shows the range in provision of access information for deaf and disabled visitors across the UK.
There are many examples across the UK of museums, galleries and heritage sites welcoming, and providing good opportunities, for blind and partially sighted visitors to experience their venue and collections. There is evidence that museums in general are considered to have 'good' accessibility for disabled people, compared to other categories of public building.
However there are still many UK museums that have no access information on their website, and as a result will be losing visitors, reputation and revenue, and may also be in breach of the Equality Act 2010.
A disabled person considering a visit to a museum may have been prompted to do so by a review, personal recommendation, leaflet or email, but they - or a companion - will be highly likely to check the museum's website as part of their decision and planning process.
The absence of useful information lowers people's confidence that barriers to access will be addressed at the venue itself, and they may not make the visit, feeling excluded from the museum's target audience.
VocalEyes believes that blind and partially sighted people should have the best opportunities to experience and enjoy arts and heritage, equal to the rest of the population.
While only 3 in 10 museums do not provide any information for a blind or partially sighted person planning a visit, we know that there is more work to do. You can make a difference by including disabled people in your target audience with welcoming, up-to-date access information online.
These guidelines are intended for staff that are responsible for, or can influence visitor information on museum websites, marketing and/or social media.
We appreciate that budget and staff capacity varies hugely across museums, and with the challenging economic climate, training or access budgets can be small or non-existent. However, awareness and effort to provide information and communicate with disabled visitors costs little or nothing, and can make a huge difference.
Download the report to read on:
Museum Access Information Guidelines 2016 (PDF)