The COVID-19 pandemic pushed many science centers and museums to start, expand, or accelerate actions on their online presence and digital programming. As more and more virtual offerings are created, the discussion around digital accessibility has rightfully gained momentum.
In listening to our members through our Digital Engagement Inquiry Project, the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) learned that museum professionals were concerned about their digital programs’ accessibility, but many felt that they did not know where to start.
ASTC developed this toolkit–with the help of several contributors–to provide concrete guidance on how to ensure that digital programs and experiences are accessible to a wide range of individuals, including those with disabilities.
Accessibility is everyone’s job. We encourage you to share this toolkit with your colleagues in other departments to embed accessibility into your organization’s digital programs and experiences. It can also serve as an onboarding resource for new staff.
What’s in this toolkit
- Accessibility Matters – Start here to learn why museums should care about accessibility and consider it both an institutional and cross-department priority.
- Accessibility 101: Basics for Science Centers and Museums – Gain familiarity with key language and definitions related to disabilities and accessibility, including tips for creating an effective accessibility statement.
- Making Accessible Museum Programming – Dig deeper into specific guidelines for making accessible digital museum programming and offsite virtual experiences and for a range of disabilities including mobility, visual, auditory, and neurocognitive impairments.
- Accessible Communications and Events – Find key tips for ensuring accessibility in online communications and event promotions, particularly helpful for communications and marketing departments.
- Tool Types – Browse examples of available tools to support accessibility broken down by type of disability they support, human-power required, and cost.
- Resources and References – Explore a wealth of additional resources to read, watch, and learn from, as well as accessibility organizations to follow.
Note that many resources are shared throughout the toolkit, however these are for illustrative purposes only and should not be considered as endorsed by ASTC.
We want to hear from you!
We are embracing the mantra, “progress over perfection” (which you can read more about in Accessibility Matters). If you have comments, questions, or additional resources for consideration, please share them using our feedback form.
This toolkit is intended to be accessible to all users and screen readers. If you encounter accessibility issues, please contact ASTC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to our contributors
ASTC thanks our partners, Sara Kobilka from Renaissance Woman Consulting and Meryl Evans, for creating this toolkit. Also, thank you to the accessible digital engagement practitioners who provided input, including Cèleste Frazier Barthel, Jamie Vought, and Ashley Grady.
We are also grateful to the Overdeck Family Foundation for their support in funding ASTC’s 2021–2022 Digital Engagement Inquiry Project. The foundation is committed to inspiring young minds and strengthening family learning through out-of-school time STEM experiences.