The Accessible Gift Shop Advantage
| Shopping at your gift shop extends
the museum experience for visitors. They can find a variety of items
for all ages and interests, including a toy, a game, a poster, a video,
and lots more. The more accessible your gift shop, the more likely
shoppers with disabilities will spend their money, tell their friends,
and come again.
What helps make a gift shop accessible for people with disabilities?
Photographs of two shoppers taken in the same museum gift shop help
explain key architectural elements. The first shopper uses a wheelchair;
the second uses a cane.
first photograph shows Beth Ziebarth maneuvering her wheelchair
between two free-standing racks. The rack on her left holds books;
the rack on her right is filled with CDs. Beth must pass between
these racks to get to items displayed along the far wall, but the
space between the two racks is just 27 inches wide. The minimum
aisle width required by the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG)
is 36 inches with 48 inches recommended.
Aisle widths are one thing to check out, reach ranges are another.
Can shoppers reach items displayed on your racks, shelves, and counters?
Try various arrangements to insure that Beth and other wheelchair
users can browse on their own. The ADAAG gives a range of acceptable
reach heights. For example, Beth can reach even the books on the
lowest shelf of the book rack shown in this photograph. While staff
should be available to assist, when merchandise is placed between
15 inches and 48 inches above the floor, most wheelchair users can
reach items on their own.
now to the gift shop pictured in the first photograph. This time
the shopper is Aziza Baccouche; she uses a cane to detect obstacles
in her path. The side of the rack displaying the CDs has two bars.
The lower bar is less than 27 inches above the floor. Aziza's sweeping
motion with her cane will detect this bar, and she will avoid a
Aziza shops alone and with friends. When with friends, she can
ask them any questions she may have, but she relies on assistance
from gift shop staff if she is on her own. She says she appreciates
a general overview of what's for sale and then being able to ask
for more details.
The information in the chart that follows is taken from the ADA
Signage. Often gift shops are divided into different sections with signs
directing customers to books, posters, and new arrivals. Large, high-contrast, low-glare signage works best for most
people. Avoid fancy fonts and text over images and remember as a rule of thumb, the higher the placement of the sign,
the larger the text should be.
|Gifts shops are not only integral
to the economy of the science center or museum, they build visitor
satisfaction. Accessible gift shops are good for business.
For more information
|Accessible Practices EXCHANGE is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. ESI-9814917 and HRD 9906095. Opinions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and presenters and not necessarily those of the National Science Foundation. www.nsf.gov|
|ASTC is not responsible for the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The information presented here is intended solely as informal guidance, and is neither a determination of your legal rights or responsibilities under the ADA, nor binding on any agency with enforcement responsibility under the ADA. This web site is not intended to offer legal, architectural, engineering, or similar professional advice. You should refer specific questions to an attorney, and/or national, state, and local ADA authorities.|
|Copyright 2006 by the Association of Science-Technology Centers Incorporated. All rights reserved.|