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Home > October 2015 > Access for All: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Access for All: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Posted: 10/5/2015 9:32:02 AM

Access for All: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Educators marched alongside other cultural institutions in the first annual Disability Pride Parade in New York City.

This year, the Intrepid Museum joins city agencies, community organizations, cultural institutions and advocates throughout the city in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law on July 26, 1990. This major milestone is a time to reflect on the legal and social impact of the legislation, to commemorate the individuals that have made our built environment and society more inclusive, and to recognize the barriers that still exist today.

The Intrepid Museum is proud to be part of the ongoing effort to remove these barriers. It strives to make its exhibits and environment accessible and its programs more inclusive. Thanks to the generosity of our funders, this year the Museum has been able to offer 168 free programs to an estimated 2,775 visitors with physical, cognitive or emotional disabilities, including those who are blind or have low vision, who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, or who have developmental delays or autism, as well as individuals with dementia. Programs are designed to meet visitors' needs and provide supportive, social experiences for the participants, their caregivers and family members. We look forward to reaching more audiences in the next year as we launch new education programs for military service members and their families.

The Museum also contributes to local and national conversations about accessibility. The Museum was featured in two publications: “Creating Accessible Opportunities at the Intrepid Museum” in the Association of Science-Technology Centers’ Dimensions magazine and “Visitor Voices: A Story of Accessibility and Inclusion” in the American Alliance of Museum’s Museum magazine. Our access programs served as a model for other museums aiming to create more inclusive opportunities for visitors.

Representatives from the Intrepid Museum presented at national and international conferences for museum professionals this year, including the annual meeting of the American Alliance of Museums last April and the International Council of Museums’ Committee for Education and Cultural Action in September. Our manager of access programs, Barbara Johnson Stemler, presented “Mindful Connections: Creating Museum Dialogues for Veterans,” as well as “Utilizing Visual Augmentative Communication Tools for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities,” and she co-presented “Visitor Voices: A Story of Accessibility and Inclusion” with our assistant vice president of education, Sheri Levinsky-Raskin. Charlotte Martin, a Museum educator, spoke about “Exercising Social-Emotional Skills in the Museum.”

Museum educators also joined community celebrations honoring the ADA’s 25th anniversary. The New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities organized special events, including the city’s first annual Disability Pride Parade on July 12. Our educators marched alongside Museum Access Consortium colleagues, who strive to advance accessibility at New York’s cultural institutions for people of all abilities.

Coming up next, the Intrepid Museum will participate in the American Alliance of Museums’ three-part webinar series “Stories of Inclusion: Inclusive Practices at Cultural Institutions” on October 7, 14 and 28. Register and tune in!

We are honored to work with so many dedicated individuals and organizations in New York City and around the country that strive to make our society more inclusive. The Museum will continue seeking opportunities to provide meaningful cultural and educational opportunities for children and adults with disabilities, and we will continue partnering with teachers, parents and other agencies to reach more audiences.

Please visit our website for more information on our programs and resources!

#ADA25, #ADA25NYC, #a11y

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