Mariann Smith, Albright-Knox
Accessibility as a Museum-Wide Initiative 1:16
I’m Mariann Smith, Curator of Education at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Before several years ago, universal access what pretty much just in the hands of the education department, mainly the coordinator of our “Matter at Hand” Program, which is a program for individuals with special needs. Every time that person left, a new person was hired, and they would get up to speed on all the things that could be done, and then they might leave for another job, and it just kept going on like that. Finally we made the point to the administration that this really needed to be a museum-wide initiative, it really couldn't just be the education department that handled all of these things. So we formed a Universal Access Committee with our “Matter at Hand” coordinator on it, with our director, CFO, and director of visitor services. It’s really our “Matter at Hand” coordinator and head of visitor services who go to different conferences; they learn the latest things that are going on in these areas, and they train the rest of us so that if somebody leaves the organization, we still have enough base of people who can continue the progress that we feel we’ve made so far with these issues.