This document contains guidelines (listed together in the Overview section) as well as design tools (listed in conjunction with the guidelines in Section B). The guidelines are in part based on construction standards established for the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. They represent Smithsonian methods for arriving at the laws’ required end: accessible exhibitions that work for people with disabilities as well as for the rest of the public. Together the guidelines become the Smithsonian standard for accessible exhibition design.
In 2015, Ithaka S+R, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) set out to quantify with demographic data an issue that has been of increasing concern within and beyond the arts community: the lack of representative diversity in professional museum roles. Ithaka’s analysis found there were structural barriers to entry in these positions for people of color.
The program will include up to ten students, and will take place over the course of twelve weeks at different AAMD member institutions.