Celebrating 25 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

12The Museum opens its doors to people from our community and beyond to explore thousands of years of art and culture from around the world. Every day, staff works hard to ensure that our building, artworks, and programs are accessible to visitors of all abilities.

This spring, the Museum is working with organizations around Birmingham to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). This landmark legislation prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunities for people with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.

Several programs in May draw attention to accessibility at the Museum. On Saturday, May 9, explore the achievements of artists with disabilities such as Claude Monet, Dale Chihuly, and Josiah Wedgwood during one of two free tours. The 10am tour is geared towards adults with visual impairments, and the 1pm tour is open to the general public. The tour for adults with visual impairments will be repeated on Wednesday, May 27 at 1pm. For more information, please call 205.254.2070.

On Tuesday, May 19 at 12 noon, join Terry Beckham, Exhibitions Designer and Kristi McMillan, Assistant Curator of Education for Visitor Engagement, for Accessibility for All at the BMA. This ArtBreak considers how we use universal design and other strategies to foster a welcoming and inclusive museum environment.

Also that day, the ADA Legacy Project is visiting Birmingham’s Kelly Ingram Park. As it nears the end of its year-long tour of the country, the ADA Bus brings interactive exhibits that explore the history of self-advocacy, as well as the ADA Legacy Project and its mission to preserve the history of the disability rights movement, to celebrate milestones, and to educate the public and future generations of advocates. There will also be a booth where people can post thoughts and photos that capture how the ADA has made a difference to their lives, an ADA quilt, and more. The Museum joins other local non-profits, service agencies, and disability resource groups at the park from 11am to 4pm.

Finally, this month, verbal descriptions will be added to the BMA smartguide for 12 artworks on the Museum highlights tour. Verbal description, a way of using words to represent the visual world, enables visitors who are blind or visually impaired to form a mental image of what they cannot see. Docents also use verbal description extensively during our Visually Impaired Program tours.

For more information about local events that celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ADA, please click here. For more information about accessibility and the Museum’s Visually Impaired Program, please click here.