Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, NFB
Advice on Advisory Boards from the NFB 2:22
The number one resource that I will, of course, recommend is the National Federation for the Blind. We have members in chapters in almost every metropolitan area throughout this country, and if we don't have one in your community, we have one close by and we have a state president who you can contact to get local peoples’ information, or you can talk directly with the state president. Sometimes the mistake made in communities is someone knows a blind person, a friend or a colleague, and that person may or may not have a lot of experience with what blind people want or don’t want -- it depends on that person’s individual experience, so it’s kind of hit or miss whether you will get the kind of advice that is really representative of the blind population. Whereas if you go to our organization, which is an organization of blind people, you will be more apt to get the pragmatic advice, the advice that makes the most sense and, to be quite frank, the advice that will save you time and money, because in our organization we do not believe that museums and art galleries should change their entire environment for blind people. A lot of what you exhibit is visual in nature, and it needs to stay visual in nature, and not everything in museums are going to be accessible to blind people and that's okay, we understand that, we don't expect that. We can share with you some pragmatic and easy-to-accomplish methods of accessibility. If you are forming an advisory board to help you improve access, a lot of museums have advisory boards that are improving access for lots of different people -- different socio-economic groups, different ethnic groups, disabilities, or different cognitive levels. I would incorporate representatives from the National Federation of the Blind into that mix.