Friday, June 11, 2010

TAM Docents: Art Beyond Sight Accessibility Tools/Disability Awareness Training - June 18

Hello Docents-

Please see the opportunity for training being offered at Seattle Art Museum below. If you want to attend, Courtney needs to get those RSVPs to them by Tuesday so please have them in to me by Monday and I can pass them on.

Thank you!



Jana Wennstrom
Manager of Public and Volunteer Programs

T: 253.272.4258 x3030




From: Courtney Vowels
Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2010 5:13 PM
To: Allison Baer; Jana Wennstrom; Josh Proehl
Subject: RE: Art Beyond Sight Accessibility Tools/Disability Awareness Training - June 18


Hi team—


Check out the description of this training next week and see whether you feel it would be useful for you. I think I've mentioned the training like this I got to do at MoMA a few years ago that was pretty amazing, with the visual impairment simulation glasses and touching works of art & stuff. It may be especially pertinent for Josh's work with the School for the Blind, but could be handy background for school & group tours too.


In particular, since they are opening this up to docents as well, Jana and Allison please do send it out to docents and the school tour team. If they would like to attend, please have them RSVP to me by 8 am next Tuesday morning, including which session(s). (If you all could let me know by then too, that'd be great.)





Courtney Vowels

Director of Education


T: 253.272.4258 x3038



From: Caroline Walker [] On Behalf Of Sandra Jackson-Dumont
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2010 10:29 AM
To: Stephanie Stebich; Courtney Vowels
Subject: Art Beyond Sight Accessibility Tools/Disability Awareness Training - June 18


Dear Stephanie & Courtney:
On behalf of Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Deputy Director for Education & Public Programs at the Seattle Art Museum and the Art Beyond Sight Institute/Art Education for the Blind, we invite your participation in a professional development opportunity led by Art Beyond Sight staff, who will be in Seattle on Friday, June 18th, offering accessibility training for the staff and volunteers of Seattle-region museums.


We hope that educators and/or docents at your institution will be able to attend at least part of the day's training.   Please see a detailed schedule and a description of the larger Art Beyond Sight initiative below.

FRIDAY, JUNE 18, 2010                                                                                                                      

9 a.m.-noon (SAM Downtown, Nordstrom Lecture Hall)
Accessibility Tools Training/Workshop (w/ gallery component)
Description:  AEB will facilitate an accessibility tools training/workshop for educators and docents. The training begins with a general overview of interpretive accessibility tools used in the galleries, such as touch, tactile objects, sound, tactile diagrams and art making, with a particular focus on verbal description.  After reviewing the guidelines for writing a verbal description, and listening to examples of different works of art, participants will try their hand at writing verbal descriptions. Blind and visually impaired consultants will review and help develop these descriptions. The workshop will them move into the galleries for the last
hour, where participants will describe works of art from the museum's collection. Blind and visually impaired consultants will serve as a sounding board for this tour, and provide immediate feedback.
(NOTE: If planning to attend this morning session, please enter through the SAM Security/Staff Entrance on the west side of 2nd Avenue, between Union and University Streets)
1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. (SAM Downtown, Plestcheeff Auditorium)
Disability Awareness Training

Description: After a general overview of medical and social definitions of disability, disability statistics, and Universal Design, AEB will address the question of "Why Access?", and review legal, economic, personal and institutional perspectives on museum accessibility. The group will briefly look at examples of Universal Design at museums around the world.  AEB will open the floor for a discussion of stereotypes, do's and don'ts and communication tips for welcoming visitors with disabilities.  Note: the training's special focus is on museum visitors who are blind and visually impaired. Participants learn and practice sighted guide techniques and giving clear directional information. Training includes practical exercises and presentations by members of local disability groups.





Art Education for the Blind, a non-profit organization dedicated to making museum collections accessible to people with disabilities of all ages is conducting a nation-wide multi-site museum study. SAM was lucky to be one of seven sites selected to participate in the study. This research initiative is part of a larger effort, entitled ACCESS SAM, a docent-led initiative to increase docent skills in meeting the needs of all SAM visitors, in particular those with vision and hearing loss. ACCESS SAM also advocates for the overall accessibility of SAM as an institution, raising concerns with SAM staff.  

This AEB'S multi-site museum accessibility study will define, document and evaluate museum "best practices" for making collections, buildings and programs accessible to visitors with disabilities. The study is the first large-scale initiative to test and measure the outcomes of specific educational protocols with select groups of visitors with disabilities, specifically focused on people with visual impairments.

·        Brooklyn Museum
·        Guggenheim Museum
·        Minneapolis Institute of Arts
·        Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
·        National Gallery of Art, Washington
·        Seattle Art Museum
·        San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

To learn more about the Art Beyond Site research initiative visit:

Please RSVP by June 15th, indicating which session(s) you plan to attend, and send to Caroline Walker at or at 206.654.3124.  Please contact Caroline Walker with any questions you might have.


Sandra Jackson-Dumont
Deputy Director for Education + Public Programs/Adjunct Curator
Seattle Art Museum
Nina Levent
Executive Director
Art Beyond Sight


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