This guide orients Science History Institute staff with resources and tools available to aid them in providing accommodations for people with disabilities.
The last tab outlines measures the Institute has undertaken to make the Institute an accommodating place to visit and work for people with disabilities.
Please feel free to share this guide with others as it is meant to be a public-facing resource.
Any questions about content can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Accessibility Working Group strives to change the Science History Institute's culture such that accessibility accommodations for people with disabilities are at the core of our programmatic institutional value of "inclusivity" in a way that is observable, meaningful, and measurable. Please email email@example.com if you are interested in joining our working group.
The American Association of Museums provides a succinct definition of accessibility:
Accessibility is giving equitable access to everyone along the continuum of human ability and experience. Accessibility encompasses the broader meanings of compliance and refers to how organizations make space for the characteristics that each person brings.
Why this definition?
The definition of accessibility is broadening beyond public accommodations and job opportunities. It’s not just about the physical environment: it’s about access to and representation in content for all.
We must integrate those concerns into the definitions. Our understandings of accessibility include the legal definitions and provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but we’re striving for inclusive design.² We want to go beyond compliance.
²Our definition is guided by the principle of inclusive design, which aims to address barriers typically overlooked in the design process.
The use of the term “inclusivity” within the values of the Science History Institute's strategic plan should be interpreted to include underrepresented communities including those with disabilities.
The definition put forth by the American Association of Museums follows:
Inclusion refers to the intentional, ongoing effort to ensure that diverse individuals fully participate in all aspects of organizational work, including decision-making processes. It also refers to the ways that diverse participants are valued as respected members of an organization and/or community.
While a truly “inclusive” group is necessarily diverse, a “diverse” group may or may not be “inclusive.”³
The D5 Coalition defines diversity as follows:
The word “diversity” can mean different things to different people. We’ve defined it broadly to encompass the demographic mix of a specific collection of people, taking into account elements of human difference, but focusing particularly on:
• Racial and ethnic groups: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Hispanics/Latinos/Latinas, African Americans and blacks, and American Indians and Alaska Natives
• LGBT populations
• People with disabilities
Accessibility is something we should be invested in and are expected to meet standards given federal grant-making agencies encourage or sometimes require accessible spaces and content. Making our physical and digital spaces accessible also alleviates potential litigation risks as evidenced in the rise in ADA lawsuits.