The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is striving to become the most accessible museum in Canada. I’m proud to work with them on reaching this goal.
The initial request I received was to do an accessibility audit of the Museum. While on the surface this may seem like a simple paper exercise, it is in fact much more. The audit needed to become a tool that the Museum team could use to identify areas for improvement, drawn upon for strategic planning and budgeting and to address regulatory reporting requirements.
An audit of this scale begins by creating a customized audit tool that reflects the unique building and culture that is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. In this case, eight levels of cutting edge architecture. Each level with its own design, features and challenges.
The next phase of the project is well underway; actually using the customized tool to record and assess how visitors and staff interact with the museum spaces and the current accessibility features. And I haven’t been doing this alone. Members from groups like Manitoba Possible, Arts Accessibility Network of Manitoba, People First Manitoba, and the Disabilities Studies program at the University of Manitoba have joined me, enhancing my perspective by generously sharing theirs. This provides a full range of views on accessibility barriers and proposed solutions, allowing the barriers to be addressed more holistically.
As the project progresses, I will work with the Museum team to address the gaps identified by the accessibility audit. Addressing accessibility gaps effectively requires a phased approach. Gaps must be categorized, priorities set and resources identified to complete and oversee the changes required. Gaps can be addressed in several ways; most commonly through training, physical changes, and targeted programming.
To paraphrase A Field of Dreams – “If you build a relationship, they will come”. More on making the Museum the place of choice for people of all abilities to come to in future posts.
Access is for everyone!