Not all museums are grand institutions such as the British Museum. Many small museums are run on the efforts of volunteers, donations and entry fees. So, upgrading premises, exhibits and interpretive signage to be accessible to all poses challenges. But legal obligations require adjustments to provide accessibility. It also means that people with disability can join as volunteers more easily. The Come-In! Guidelines from Europe tackles some of the issues for small and medium-sized museums.
Come-in! Guidelines provide a practical way forward for small and medium-sized museums. It lays down some principles to guide processes and to meet legal obligations. Language, the “service chain” and staff training are the key aspects of the guidance. The principles include:
- Disabled people have a right to be included in all the activities of museums and galleries.
- Museums and galleries should engage in a dialogue with people with disabilities to find out what they need and wish, and how to deliver it.
- Barriers to access for people with disabilities should be identified and dismantled to enable and empower them to participate.
- Universal design principles should be the basis for inclusive practice in museums and galleries.
- The implementation of best, inclusive, practice should be adopted to ensure that disability issues are included in all areas of a museum or gallery’s activities.
- This process must be ongoing, long-term, achievable and sustainable. It should be reflected in the museum’s policies and strategic planning, and implementation should be led by senior management.
The European Union acknowledges its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Consequently, the document is framed with this in mind. The information in this guideline is good for any attraction or tourist destination. The Come-In! Guidelines are detailed and practical, and not just policy words.
If you have difficulty downloading the document from Academia, you can download the PDF directly.
The graphic is from the Guidelines.