People with disabilities enjoy the arts just as much as anyone else. At the NCMA our goal is for all visitors to feel welcome and comfortable in the Museum. Offering accommodations to people with disabilities is one way we make the NCMA more inviting.
A tactile tour allows a visitor to explore sculpture with the sense of touch. Three more special tours are planned this summer for visitors who are blind or have low vision.
Service animals are welcome at the Museum.
We have worked closely with Arts Access, Inc., a nonprofit in Raleigh dedicated to making the arts accessible to people with disabilities. They have helped us assess the Museum buildings and the Museum Park and have given recommendations to make certain areas even more accessible. And they recently conducted accessibility awareness and sensitivity training for entire Museum staff.
While working with Visitor Services, Melissa Roth and I worked on accessibility resources over the last year and a half, including creating social narratives for Museum galleries and the Museum Park and a visual schedule for visitors who have family members or companions with autism, intellectual disabilities, or other barriers who would benefit from reading them before their visit.
The SECU Auditorium has an induction loop system to provide improved accessibility for visitors with telecoil hearing aids. This hearing loop is available for film screenings, lectures, and other programs in the auditorium. It sends the audio signal directly to the hearing aid, reducing ambient noise for a better experience.
During our fall 2018 exhibition The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art, we offered special programs for visitors with disabilities. These included two public American Sign Language tours for visitors who are deaf or hearing impaired. We offered two quiet mornings for individuals or families who need a less crowded or noisy experience, opening the Museum one hour before public hours. We also offered a quiet room and a sensory friendly art making project in one of the studios. We provided large-print wall label text, as we do with all ticketed exhibitions.
Audio description is available for three movies this summer, including First Man.
This summer, Arts Access audio describers will audio describe three movies for people with low vision or who are blind: Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse, First Man, and The Big Lebowski movie party. Audio description provides information about actions, characters, scene changes, on-screen text, and other visual content. I took their audio description class in January. It was tricky enough to describe still images. I can’t imagine the training required to audio describe a constantly changing movie.
In June the Museum begins a new series of tours called Beyond Sight. These free tours, designed for teens and adults who are blind or have low vision, explore the Museum’s permanent collection through audio description, tactile experiences, and other senses. Register in advance for June 8, July 13, or August 10.
To learn more about accessible events and our ongoing efforts, sign up for our bimonthly Accessibility Information and Events Newsletter.
Students from the Governor Morehead School for the Blind visited the Museum.