The Australian Museum (AM) has launched its new Accessibility and Inclusion Action Plan for 2018 to 2021 (AIAP).
31 January, 2018: The Australian Museum (AM) has championed the need to break down barriers facing people with disability in its new Accessibility and Inclusion Action Plan 2018-21 (AIAP).
The plan ensures that the exploration of nature and culture at the AM, Australia’s first museum, is accessible to everyone, regardless of their identity, age or background.
The new AIAP, launched on 31 January, 2018, builds on the AM’s achievements and commitment to the principles of social inclusion and equity throughout its exhibitions, programs, services and venues.
In 2015, the AM opened the landmark 4.5-metre-wide Museum Walk pathway and award-winning Crystal Hall entrance, providing an accessible entry for staff, visitors and volunteers for the first time.
The AM has also introduced hearing loops in its theatre and performance spaces, and offers free tactile tours and audio descriptive tours of the museum and galleries on the new AM app. The AM’s education team works directly with specialised schools and community groups to deliver tailored and accessible programs and resources.
The new AIAP demonstrates the AM’s continued dedication to equality of inclusion and access, through measures such as:
- Ensuring that all new building works, including the AM’s Master Plan, incorporate accessibility requirements in the planning and design stage.
- Providing training and resources for staff across the AM to support access and inclusion.
- Reviewing signage to improve wayfinding into and around the AM for people with disability.
- Enhancing interpretive information in all exhibition spaces to ensure it is placed at the appropriate angle and height, with appropriate use of contrast, colour and lighting for all.
- Providing training and resources for managers to support the recruitment and retention of people with disability.
- Consulting with people with disability on all future key initiatives.
Australian Museum Director and CEO Kim McKay AO said the AIAP builds on the museum’s former Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2015-17, by shifting the focus to social and physical inclusion rather than disability.
“Our goal is to create social change, which changes the perception and behaviour towards our visitors and staff living with disability,” she said.
“I am very proud to be part of a team at the AM that ensures Australia’s first museum, despite its heritage challenges, is creating a place where everyone can be inspired, explore and understand our natural and cultural world.”
NSW Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier Scott Farlow MLC, who launched the AIAP on behalf of Minister for Disability Services Ray Williams, congratulated the AM for developing a plan that ensures people with disability have access to cultural education.
“The NSW Government is committed to breaking down barriers and promoting accessibility for people with disability to enjoy the same opportunities as everyone else,” he said.
“The Australian Museum’s Accessibility and Inclusion Action Plan clearly outlines the museum’s commitment to inclusion, with a focus on building access ramps, recruiting people with disability and increasing the number of partnerships with disability organisations.”
Since the AM’s first Disability Inclusion Action Plan, in 2010, the museum has worked to address the heritage constraints of its main William Street site, while ensuring that its services and programs are accessible and inclusive.
The new AIAP addresses the four key goals under the NSW Disability Inclusion Act 2014: changing community attitudes towards people with disability; increasing community participation; increasing employment opportunities for people with disability; and removing barriers to systems and processes.
The AIAP was created by the AM in consultation with an Accessibility and Inclusion Advisory Panel, and with support from the Australian Network on Disability.
Panel member and Paralympian Paul Nunnari said: “As a member of the accessibility advisory panel, I feel immensely proud of the Australian Museum’s commitment to the inclusion of people with disability to this wonderful learning and cultural institution.
“The launch of the Australian Museum’s Accessibility and Inclusion Action Plan will ensure that this inclusion continues for generations of people to enjoy.”
The AM’s advisory panel also included: diversity and inclusion advocate Sabrina Houssami-Richardson; opportunity guide Mark Tonga; access and inclusion specialist adviser Naomi Malone; inclusion logistics specialist Troy King; and Syvala Mahmic, CEO of Plumtree Children’s Services, which provides support for children with a developmental delay or disability.
The AIAP will be made available on the AM website and included in all staff orientation packages. The new AIAP and future plans will be lodged with the Department of Family and Community Services, and the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The AIAP is available for download here.
About the Australian Museum
The AM, founded in 1827, is the nation’s first museum, and is an internationally recognised natural science and culture institution focused on Australia and the Pacific. As custodian of more than 18 million objects, the AM is uniquely positioned to provide a greater understanding of the region through its scientific research, exhibitions and public and education programs. Through the Australian Museum Research Institute, the AM also has a leading role in conserving Australia’s biodiversity through understanding the environmental impacts of climate change, potential biosecurity threats and invasive species.