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Ask the Expert Q&A 4 November 2016: Inclusive Access to Museums – with Phil Chambers

Phil Chambers will be answering your questions on Providing Inclusive Access to Museums on Friday 4 November 2016 between 2-3pm GMT.

Phil Chambers specialises in inclusive Design, Equality and Diversity – Policy and Strategy and Access Audits. 

Phil Chambers is a consultant specialising in providing inclusive access for all to museums you can find out more on his website here.

Phil Chambers , will be answering your questions Providing Inclusive Access to Museums on Friday 4 November 2016 between 2-3pm GMT.

You can post questions before the Q & A session, on 4 November, or you can converse in real time with our expert. You can use the comment box below to post a question, or you can use twitter with the hashtag  #mdyask.

Comments have to be moderated, to protect the blog from spam, so if your comment doesn’t appear straight away, don’t worry, we’ll get to it as quickly as we can.

If you have a problem submitting questions, either in the comment box, or via twitter, please email your questions to [email protected]

If you have ideas for subjects you’d like to see us cover in future, or would like to take questions yourself, please get in contact with us and let us know.

Your Comments

  1. Phil Chambers |

    For me pre- visit information about inclusive access is the most important thing that I look for when planning a visit to a museum or other heritage place. It needs to be clear and objective to enable me as a wheelchair user to make an informed choice if it meets my needs, but it also important to provide information about services and facilities that might appeal to people with a range of disabilities too. If in doubt talk to local disability groups and get them involved in getting the right messages across to everyone – heritage for all

  2. Gillian Waters |

    What sort of pre- visit information would be useful for museums to give on their website?

  3. Rachel Wade |

    Is there a recommended format for signage museums and galleries should be using?

  4. Phil Chambers |

    An access statement, which objectively describes the facilities and services that are provided is probably the most useful – It should start with getting there. Think about the range of impairments physical sensory and learning and make sure that it is visible at the home page, as too often helpful information is hidden. People with visual impairments using screen readers will need to use the search facility, so use key words e.g. disabled, inclusive access, contact, address and if symbols and pictures are provided on the website for such as a telephone remember to include the word telephone too, as the search facility will not find it otherwise. When images are not tagged on a website, they cannot be interpreted by person using an optical reader such as JAW, their screen reader will probably just say image or graphic – http://www.w3c.org is a good source of information

  5. Phil Chambers |

    Hi Rachel, The Sign Design Guide recommends Clear, Concise and Consistent. A sans serif font such as Arial is preferable (Helvetica is used on such as Fire Escapes) and there needs to be good colour/tonal contrast between the text and background. Avoid using just Upper Case lettering, use a normal sentence presentation. Also avoid placing text on top of a graphic as it loses its legibility. Raised text on signage is also helpful to some people who are blind and visually impaired, but remember they need to be able to find it, so a consistent protocol is needed which can be communicated to visitors to assist them.

  6. Gillian Waters |

    Who would I get in contact with to discover the local disability groups in Yorkshire?

  7. Phil Chambers |

    Hi Gillian, there is no hard and fast rule, some local Council access officers may be working with a group and can provide a lead in. Organisations such as blind societies and national groups such as MENCAP, Autism Plus are useful sources of information. It is also helpful to do a local web search to identify people, look to have a diversity of impairment in the group and be prepared to meet the user needs e.g. it may be necessary to provide a BSL interpreter or to offer transport if meetings are being arranged. Remember it is a two way process, but disabled people will be any museums best advocate, so do the groundwork.

  8. Phil Chambers |

    Hi Gillian, there is no hard and fast rule. Some Council Access Officers may be working with groups to provide a lead in. National groups such as MENCAP, Autism Plus etc. are often good contacts and a web search of local voluntary organisations, blind societies, parents of children with disabilities are helpful too. Aim for a diversity of impairment when consulting and engaging with disabled people. Remember its a two way process and there is a need to meet people on their own terms, e.g. if organising a group then transport needs to be considered, suitability of venue, access to information etc. Disabled people can become your best advocates, so its worth doing the research and groundwork

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