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Smithsonian Accessibility Program

The Smithsonianís Accessibility Program strives to make all visitors feel welcome by providing consistent, effortless access to the Institutionís programs, collections, and facilities. This program, which serves as a role model for museums throughout this country and around the world, is founded on the belief that all Smithsonian visitors and staff are valued, and that access should be integrated, independent, and dignified. As part of its mission, the Smithsonian Accessibility Program seeks to expand its national outreach to the museum community, diffusing resources, technical information, policies and practices, and replicable programs.

For Affiliates, the Accessibility staff can:

  1. Consult on a range of issues, including accessibility guidelines for exhibition design, considerations for accessible programming, and more. What font size is big enough for wall labels? Call them!
  2. Conduct training for Affiliate staff or docents on accessibility issues, such as designing tours for visitors who blind or have low vision; or on program access for people with disabilities in general.
  3. Connect Affiliates to their local disability communities. The Smithsonian's Accessibility Program has contacts in the disability community nation-wide and can provide ideas for how to engage your local community.
  4. Provide copies of standards, policies, articles and laws regarding accessibility issues in museums.
  5. Brainstorm ideas for Accessibility-specific programming. For example, the Program has created a model for a teen event, introducing this audience to assistive technologies, physical fitness and leadership opportunities, and more.
To take advantage of any of these ideas, please contact the Smithsonian's Accessibility Office at 202.633.2921; 202.633.4353 (TTY); 202.633.4352 (fax); 888.783.0001 (toll free) or ziebarth@si.edu.
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