terptree: How are Museums and Galleries made accessible for Deaf people?

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Monday, 4 June 2012

How are Museums and Galleries made accessible for Deaf people?

For the next installment of our access guides we will be covering Museums and Galleries and some suggestions for making services accessible for Deaf people.

The Disability Discriminations Act (DDA) 1995 requires service providers (including museums) to change polices, practices and procedures and to remove barriers which may make it unreasonably difficult or impossible for a disabled person to use their service and/or to provide auxiliary aids or services to enable disabled people to use their services.

Deafness is the second most common 'disability' after mobility disability, therefore if you are providing accessible events for deaf people - you are in line to grow your audience/visitor sizes.

Many people often ask "What should I be doing to provide access for Deaf people?", well we hope this quick guide will give you some ideas that can easily be put into practice and get your venue providing some accessible tours and talks.

Where to start?

Have a look through your programme of upcoming events and decide which event you would like to make accessible

If it is a talk or tour that you would like Deaf people to access, then book a BSL Interpreter for the talk.  Make sure that if there are any post-talk workshops, that the interpreter is booked for this as well

Take a look at MAGIC to see how other venues have made their events accessible and maybe attend a few to see what can be achieved

Download the free BSL app NPG BSL to see the innovative work that has been done by the National Portrait Gallery 

Advertise advertise advertise!  On providing such a service, you want to ensure that it is being used. There are various places that you can advertise such as:join MAGIC, add your event to relevant e-groups such as deaf-uk-events and of course advertise on terptree's public events calendar by emailing us at news@terptree.co.uk.  Never forget to put as much information on your own website as is possible.

What else can be done?

Book some Deaf Awareness Training or send your staff on a basic BSL course - this will not only make the event accessible, but also enhance the whole experience.  Contact terptree at interpreting@terptree.co.uk for a helpful tip sheet on communicating with Deaf people

Remind the box office that an interpreter has been booked and instruct them on where the interpreter is needed

Take a team approach.  Ensure that all members of the team from production to front of house are aware of the needs of the new audience that you are wishing to attract

You could have a 'welcomer' who can communicate in basic BSL to make Deaf people feel welcomed

Create a mailing list of Deaf patrons as they access your service and ensure that all of your methods of communications are accessible; sending emails and SMS to Deaf people 

For more information:

Please see terptree's public events calendar for a range of events that are accessible for Deaf people. terptree also provide a whole range of sign language training courses, including Deaf Awareness Training and basic BSL – so if you have no knowledge of sign language or would like to improve your signing skills, terptree are the place to go!

MAGIC is fourteen museums and galleries in London who provide events and facilities for deaf and hard of hearing visitors. MAGIC's members are the British Museum, Courtauld Institute, London Transport Museum, Museum of London, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, National Maritime Museum, Photographers’ Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, Serpentine Gallery, Somerset House, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Victoria & Albert Museum and the Whitechapel Art Gallery

MuseumAccess4Deaf is a blog that covers areas of Deaf culture and the accessibility needs of the Deaf community in arts and museums.  Although this talks about the experience of a Deaf American, it is still highly relevant 

Pesky People aims to seek and create solutions that improve digital access and inclusion 

GoGenie is a network of knowledge for accessibility 


Cassy said...

Very heart warming post! I like your post because you gave some brilliant tips on how to make deaf people happy in some ways. God bless you in a very special way.

terptree said...


Thank you for your comment - it is really great to know that the information is useful and shows the different ways that Museums and Galleries can provide access for Deaf patrons.

Hope you enjoy our other blog posts!