Vintage old time movie theatre with marqueeSightseeing and leisure travel present unique challenges to individuals with disabilities, their families, friends, and companions. No one wants to make a special effort to go somewhere only to find out that you can’t get in; or there are no restrooms that meet your needs; or you can’t find out if the food is safe for you to eat; or that you can’t hear the performance or guided tour.

This demand for accessible cultural attractions is increasing and many places are responding in very positive and creative ways. But how do you find out what accessibility features are available at the place you are visiting?

The internet as an accessibility resource

The internet is a good place to start, yet while some destinations provide a lot of information, others do not. Some places put access information on the front page of their website; others bury it four layers down. There is no “best practice” as to what, how or where access information is provided.

In planning family outings myself, I noticed and was troubled by this lack of consistent information. That is why I started

Website presents accessible attractions in the Boston area

In 2010, I was awarded the Barbara Wilensky Gopen Memorial Fellowship by the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Network in order to create a website that provides comprehensive and comprehensible access information for many of the most popular attractions in Boston.

My goal was to provide information that made it useful to, and usable by, as many people as possible.

By only targeting accessibility information to people with disabilities, this important information was not getting to everyone who could benefit from it; yet the fact remains that varying levels of ability are a normal part of human life. It also perpetuates an “us” and “them” mentality where people with disabilities are treated as different from all other visitors.

Accessibility at cultural attractions benefits everyone

Access is for everyone. Ramps and elevators are vital for people who use wheelchairs, but they are also vital for parents with strollers. Captioning on videos is important to people who are deaf and hard of hearing, but it also benefits children learning to read and people learning English as a second language.

During my fellowship project, I learned about a number of wonderful resources on accessible cultural attractions and I am looking forward to sharing these resources with you over

Nora Nagle
Guest author Nora Nagle

the next month!

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