Museums: A Whole New World for Visually Impaired People

Barry Ginley


Accessing museums has been difficult for people who are blind or partially sighted, often due to objects being placed in glass cases creating a barrier to access. Many museums around the world provide some accessibility but what happens when a museum looks at the issue in its entirety and sees blind and partially sighted visitors as important as everyone else.


The Victoria & Albert Museum in London has tried to take an holistic approach to access, by looking at what prevents blind and partially sighted visitors visit a museum and how it can improve access for such an audience.


Taking a focused approach to consider not only the objects but implementing a museum wide strategy is required to provide inclusive access for all visitors. The museum considers how it can improve the visitor experience by removing the physical barriers, staff training, providing touch objects and tactile books, as well as looking to the future to see how technology can play a part in improving access.


Employing people with a disability has also assisted the V&A in its journey to becoming more accessible by employing a blind person as its first Disability and Access Officer, a unique opportunity to change from within.


Key words: Victoria and Albert Museum, inclusive museum access, touch tours and

verbal description. 


Victoria and Albert Museum; inclusive museum access; touch tours and verbal description

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Copyright (c) 2013 Barry Ginley

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