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Posts Tagged ‘accessibility’

The events of Summer 2020 have no doubt had a profound impact on the work and perspective of arts and culture institutions across the United States. Protests, still ongoing, against the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black civilians by police have placed a national spotlight on the systems that enforce racial injustice in this country. Countless institutions, including the Cummings Center, have taken this opportunity to reflect upon representations of racial diversity and civil unrest in their collections, and to use those representations as a means of furthering dialogue and providing a historical background for our tumultuous present.

However, highlighting diversity and historical relevance in material collections is not enough to address the inequalities that impact Black Americans in their daily lives. We must all come to terms with how our own ongoing actions contribute to racial inequality in our institutions and in the communities that we serve. It is essential for us to take a proactive role in recognizing and addressing these issues.

The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology stands against social injustice, including all forms of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia. We recognize that there is a long way to go in fostering true equity, inclusivity, and diversity within our institution and the larger fields of psychology and museum education. In order to work toward a more equitable future and to specifically address anti-Black racism, we are committed to carrying out the following ongoing actions:

  • We will conduct racial equity impact assessments for all major institutional decisions and programming going forward.
  • We will devote our time and resources to the greater representation of Black individuals and historic perspectives in our collections and programming.
  • We have formed a committee which will meet monthly to discuss the promotion of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion and the creation of specific goals and initiatives.

These are merely the first steps in a long-term process of actively challenging our own perspectives and combating racial inequity. Though thorough and widespread changes to the fields and industries in which we work cannot happen overnight, we hope that our actions going forward will contribute to a more equitable environment for the next generation of psychologists, archivists, and museum professionals.

The events of this year have undeniably shifted priorities around issues of diversity and inclusion, but their importance transcends this moment in history. Black lives have always mattered, and they always will. We are dedicated to carrying out this principle within our institution and within our community.

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contributed by Tony Pankuch (Archives Assistant)

Since beginning my work as a staff member of the CCHP earlier this year, much of my focus has been directed toward the increased accessibility of our museum and archival resources. Though changes to the design and content of museum exhibits are primarily long-term projects for our team, I have been able to work with my colleagues to develop a number of informational resources for museum visitors relating to the accessibility of our physical facilities.

We will begin publishing most of these resources when the museum reopens, but for right now, I’d like to give you a preview of what you can expect to see.

Preview of the CCHP accessibility web page, featuring an Accessibility and Inclusion Statement.
Preview of the CCHP Accessibility page.

Accessibility Webpage

My colleagues and I have worked to compile information on the CCHP’s current state of accessibility into a single location on our website. This page includes an Accessibility & Inclusion Statement that will guide our future efforts and contact information for all accessibility-related inquiries. The page also includes information on the Museums For All initiative, which will provide reduced admission to guests presenting a state-issued EBT card at the admissions desk. Within this space, we have striven to be honest about the current realities of the museum in regards to physical accessibility.

Unlike the resources below, the Accessibility page is available now.

Preview of the CCHP Visitor’s Guide, featuring an image of the museum entrance and the guide’s “Exploring the Museum” section.
Preview of the CCHP Visitor’s Guide.

Visitor’s Guide

A Visitor’s Guide will be available online for those interested in visiting the National Museum of Psychology and Institute for Human Science and Culture galleries. This guide will provide visitors with detailed information on travel, parking, physical facilities, and museum content. Photos will be included to illustrate all parts of the museum experience.

Preview of the National Museum of Psychology maps, side-by-side. Icons on the second map show the location of different types of exhibits.
Preview of the Museum Map. Left: Standard Map; Right: Detailed Sensory Map.

Museum Map

In addition to the Visitor’s Guide, maps of the National Museum of Psychology will be offered on our website and in print form at the museum’s admissions desk. These maps will exist in two varieties. The first is a basic map detailing the layout of the museum and the location of key amenities, such as restrooms and seating. The second will include more detailed information on the locations of hands-on exhibits and displays, audio sources and noisier areas, and audio/visual elements currently lacking closed captioning or alternative forms of access. This second map, along with the visitor’s guide, is designed to give visitors an idea of the sensory atmosphere and limitations of the museum in its current state.

These initial resources are centered on offering clear, accurate, and easy-to-find information regarding the accessibility of the CCHP. Moving forward, we will begin working toward the improvement of our physical facilities and digital offerings.

Of course, the most important people in all of this are you, our patrons and visitors. What can we do to make the CCHP more accessible for you? What information would you like to see on our website and social media? Let us know in the comments, or email us at ahap@uakron.edu.

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