Museum Audiences with Disabilities

People with disabilities represent a large, diverse and important audience for museums and galleries. This report details a study of museums and audiences witrh disabilities.

One in five Australians has some type of disability. People with disabilities represent a large, diverse and important audience for museums and galleries. The aim of this study, a collaboration between the Australian Museum, the National Museum of Australia and Accessible Arts was to give voice to the views of visitors with disabilities and suggest ways in which museums and galleries can better support their access needs.

Overall, it was found that people with a disability are supportive of museums and galleries, are motivated visitors and see museums and galleries as excellent environments for learning, education and social interaction. People with a disability have strong networks and often visit in groups or with friends and family. Ensuring their access needs are met offers the potential for museums to increase both visitor numbers and the diversity of their audience. In addition, by finding better ways to meet the needs of visitors with disabilities, museums and galleries will automatically be improving the visiting experience for all visitor groups.

The published report from the study, Many voices making choices: museum audiences with disabilities by Peta Landman, Kiersten Fishburn, Lynda Kelly, and Susan Tonkin (ISBN 0 7347 2318 0), provides information about this audience, specifically focussing on their views about museums and museum visiting. As well, a set of recommendations were made for museums to consider when programming for these audiences, and a range of available resources are listed in the publication.


Lynda Kelly
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