Erin Narloch, Curator of Education, Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI
Woodson Museum - An Accessibility Program 2:39
During my daily commute, I would often see blind people waiting at the bus stop, and this started wheels turning in my head: What could we do at the art museum for blind people in our community? That's why we started the program, because I had a constant reminder everyday that people were not coming to the museum -- and we like to think of ourselves as a community resource -- so what could we do to be a community resource for these individuals. During my hunt I came across the Art Beyond Sight’s Web site, and I was really encouraged by the museums director. One of the board members’ husbands is blind, so that connection made it even more concrete in the museum setting. So after a few phone conversation and a lot of support not only from Art Beyond Sight staff members but also staff members at the museum, I committed myself to making a program or making something happen. Soon after that I happened to be at an ageing/disability resource convention, and I was talking to some individuals and they said, “Have you met Joan Wegner?” And she was an instructor at our local technical college that has a disability center. I approached Joan with probably more enthusiasm then she’s used to, and I said, “I’m from the art museum and I really want to do something with blind visitors. Can we talk?” Soon after I set up a visit going to North Central Technical College and meeting with Joan and her students, approaching her about doing something at the museums. I think it was a foreign concept that we could do something here at the museum. We are very fortunate that we have a sculpture garden that we can touch with our visitors. Joan was great and she said, “Yes let’s do something.” In short, the way we got this program started was with three very basic and very important tools. The Art Beyond Sight Resource Guide, The Art Beyond Sight Video, and a community partnership with North Central Technical College.