Richard Bernstein
ADA Lawyer

Valerie Fletcher
Institute for Human Centered Design

Hannah Goodwin
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Matthew Kaplowitz
Bridge Multimedia Corporation & Onomatopoeia, Inc.

Rebecca McGinnis
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Lotfi Merabet
Harvard Medical School & Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Cynthia Overton
American Institutes for Research (AIR)

Alvaro Pascual-Leone
Harvard Medical School & Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

David H. Rose
CAST Universal Design for Learning

Francesca Rosenberg
Museum of Modern Art

Glenda Sims
University of Texas

Gary L. Talbot
Mass. Bay Transportation Authority

Jerry Wolffe
Journalist, Lecturer, Civil Rights Advocate

A project of Art Beyond Sight’s Art Beyond Sight Museum Education Institute, this multi-site museum programmatic accessibility study will define, document and evaluate museum “best practices” for making their collections 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.



Evaluation tools and training materials developed for this study and tested with these museums are available on the Museum Institute's website


Study on the Needs and Preferences of Adults who Are Blind or Have Low Vision


The study is open only to participating museums via a special blog.

For more information about the study,
contact Director, Art Beyond Sight Institute
212 334 8721


Richard BernsteinRICHARD BERNSTEIN, a graduate of the University of Michigan and Northwestern University Law School, is an attorney with the Law Offices of Sam Bernstein in Farmington Hills, Michigan. A strong advocate for people with disabilities, he successfully partnered with the United States Department of Justice to force the City of Detroit to fix broken wheelchair lifts on its buses. He also affected change at Detroit Metro Airport to make the airport more accessible for disabled fliers, and fought the State of Michigan and won to preserve special education funding throughout the state.  Most recently, he has represented the Paralyzed Veterans of America in an action against the University of Michigan’s plans for disabled seating in Michigan Stadium and represented disabled residents who sued the Oakland County (Michigan) Road Commission after “roundabout” traffic circles were built without disabled access. Mr. Bernstein is Chair of the Board of Governors at Wayne State University and serves on the Board of Directors of several not-for-profit organizations. He also teaches a political science course in social activism at the University of Michigan. He has been honored as a “Michiganian of the Year” by the Detroit News, as one of Crain’s Detroit Business’ “40 Under 40,” and was recognized on worldwide television by CNN as a leader in keeping government honest.

Valerie FletcherVALERIE FLETCHER is Executive Director of the Institute for Human Centered Design, an international educational nonprofit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1978, it was formerly called Adaptive Environments. The organization’s mission is to advance the role of design in expanding opportunity and enhancing experience for people of all ages and abilities. Ms. Fletcher currently oversees projects ranging from universal design at the urban scale, in public transit, in mixed-use development, in higher education, and in residential design.  She is a Special Advisor to TOTO Ltd. and to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.  She lectures and writes internationally. Ms. Fletcher’s career has been divided between design and public mental health. She has a master’s degree in ethics and public policy from Harvard University.  She is the recipient of The Boston Society of Architects’ 2005 Women in Design award.

Hannah GoodwinHANNAH GOODWIN is the Manager of Accessibility at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She holds a BFA from Tufts University and the Museum School, and an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art. She launched the Museum’s Access to Art program and has greatly expanded its Feeling For Form program. In partnership with the late Terri Werner of Perkins School for the Blind, she developed an in-depth museum/arts program that provides opportunities for Perkins students to regularly visit the museum, to create art based on their museum experiences, and to have that art exhibited at the museum during Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month. Some of the Perkins students are now leading museum tours and one is a member of the Museum’s Teen Arts Council. In addition to training access guides, Ms. Goodwin is currently training all of the museum’s front-line staff and volunteers (850-900 people) re access programs and sighted-guide technique, so all visitors will feel welcome and all staff will know how to take a visitor from one point to another. Previous experience includes ten years as an Art Educator in Special Education and inclusion programs. She has been a speaker at numerous conferences, written articles on accessible arts programs, and received the Education of the Year/Greater Boston Arts award, and the 2007 LEAD Award from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Matthew KaplowitzMATTHEW KAPLOWITZis the President/Creative Director of Onomatopoeia, Inc., New York City, and Founding Partner/Director of Technology and Content Innovation at Bridge Multimedia Corporation. Bridge’s mission is to make media accessible to all people with sensory, mobility, and cognitive challenges and to foster the inclusion in society of everyone through accessible media and supporting content. Mr. Kaplopwitz has been leading Bridge Multimedia’s R&D team since 2000, implementing universally accessible technology and supporting content for electronic media and television. New systems include: EXTRA Info, a 508-compliant software and content solution providing Expanded Tools for Reading and Accessibility; the BridgeBuilder, an OSEP-funded Web-based and fully 508-compliant content management system; and an intricate technology and workflow protocol for handling and tracking massive volumes of multimedia data. A few of his recent and upcoming projects include Encyclopedia Britannica: Ben and Bella E.S.L. (Japanese, Korean, English) 18 DVD series (full production, animation design, sound and music), which won the 2009 Association of education Publishers Distinguished Achievement Award, World Language; the sound design for three new pavilions of the National Museum of Marine Corps; sound design for installations of the New York Historical Society’s Lincoln in New York exhibition; Using Braille in the Classroom, a professional development DVD project for the State of Connecticut Board of Education; and Scholastic Big Day, 2010, a comprehensive Pre-K curriculum comprising 32 bi-lingual read-along books and 138 songs (English and Spanish).

Rebecca McGinnisREBECCA MCGINNIS is Access Coordinator and Museum Educator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She and her colleagues in Access Coordination at the Metropolitan have gained recognition internationally for their pioneering programs for visitors with disabilities, and their work in the field of museum accessibility. In 2003, the Met won the American Association of Museums’ Accessibility Award. Ms. McGinnis has eighteen years’ experience in the field of access to museums and the arts for people with disabilities, with particular specialization in access to information and interpreting art for people who are blind and partially sighted, and is co-chair of NYC’s Museum Access Consortium. She presents frequently at conferences around the world, and has written extensively on museums and accessibility. In 2003 she co-authored, with Ileana Sánchez, Art and the Alphabet: A Tactile Experience, an innovative children's book combining introductory braille, tactile pictures, and images of works of art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She was previously Director of Making Sense Access Consultancy in the UK and USA. She has an MA in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and an MA in Museum Studies from Leicester University in the UK. Ms. McGinnis was an Educator at the Victoria and Albert Museum and Assistant Arts Officer at the Royal National Institute for the Blind, both in London. She is currently completing an MA in Cognitive Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, and plans to pursue a PhD focusing on tactile perception, mental imagery, and visual impairment.

Lotfi MerabetLOTFI MERABET, O.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.O., is Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and staff optometrist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. As clinical researcher at the Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation and Boston Retinal Implant Project, Dr. Merabet’s scientific interests focus on neuroplasticity and, in particular, on how the brain adjusts to the loss of sight and its relation to restoring functional vision and developing novel rehabilitative strategies for the blind.

Cynthia OvertonCYNTHIA OVERTON, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Analyst with American Institutes for Research (AIR). In this role, she has served on a number of technical assistance centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, which aim to improve education outcomes for students with special needs. Most of this work has involved the application of assistive technology and universal design to increase accessibility for students with disabilities. Dr. Overton has also contributed to a number of evaluations, ranging in scope from performance arts education programs to high school reform initiatives. In addition to assigned project work, she serves as an advisor to other AIR projects on issues of accessibility and inclusiveness for stakeholders with visual impairments. Prior to joining AIR, Dr. Overton conducted research studies on how students with visual impairments use technology to engage with their environments. She earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in education with a concentration in educational technology from the University of Michigan, a B.A. in English from Hampton University, teaching credentials from Eastern Michigan University, and an Assistive Technology Applications Certificate from California State University, Northridge Center on Disabilities.

Alvaro Pascual-LeoneALVARO PASCUAL-LEONE, MD, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation and Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He holds appointments as Adjunct Professor in Psychiatry and Neurobiology at Boston University, and in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Faculty of Arts and Science at Harvard University. Currently, he is also the Associate Director of the Harvard-Thorndike General Clinical Research Center and council member of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping. Dr. Pascual-Leone is Board Certified in Neurology and Neurophysiology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, a member of many professional societies, and the recipient of several honors and awards, including the Ramon y Cajal Award in Neuroscience (Spain), the Norman Geschwind Prize in Behavioral Neurology from the American Academy of Neurology, the Daniel D. Federman Outstanding Clinical Educator Award from the Harvard Medical School, and the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany). Dr. Pascual-Leone's major areas of research interest are the physiology of higher cognitive functions and the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders, with a focus on the dynamic modification of brain function across the lifespan (neural plasticity), and the possibility of neuromodulation by brain stimulation techniques. He is the author of more than 200 papers in refereed professional journals, two books, and more than 50 chapters contributed to edited volumes.

David RoseDAVID H. ROSE, Ed.D., helped to found CAST with a vision of expanding opportunities for all students, especially those with disabilities, through the innovative development and application of technology. Dr. Rose specializes in developmental neuropsychology and in the universal design of learning technologies. Dr. Rose lectures at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. He is the principal investigator for two national centers to develop and implement the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS). He is a frequent keynote speaker at national and international conferences. Dr. Rose received his doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Francesca RosenbergFRANCESCA ROSENBERG is the Director of Community and Access Programs in the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Education. In her fourteen years at the Museum, she and her colleagues have won national respect for MoMA’s unique efforts to make the Museum’s extensive resources accessible to all. The Department of Education’s Access program was awarded the Access Innovation in the Arts Award in November 2000 by the Metropolitan Life Foundation and VSA Arts (formerly Very Special Arts).  In 2007 Ms. Rosenberg received the Ruth Green Advocacy Award from the League for the Hard of Hearing and in 2002 was recognized as Community Leader of the Year by Self Help for the Hard of Hearing. She serves on the steering committee for the Museum Access Consortium, and is the co-author of the publication Making Art Accessible to Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals and the co-producer of the video Art Beyond Sight: A Demonstration of Practical Techniques for Teaching Art to People with Visual Impairments. Before joining MoMA, Ms. Rosenberg worked in the School Programs Department at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and as the Associate Director of Art Beyond Sight.

Glenda SimsGLENDA SIMS is a Senior Systems Analyst at the University of Texas (UT), Austin. As a member of the UT Team Web, she helps support the central Web site for the University. Her specialties include information architecture, usability/accessibility testing, handheld wireless devices, technical training and project management. Ms. Sims is an advisor and co-founder of the AIR-University (Accessibility Internet Rally) and AccessU. She serves as an accessibility consultant, judge and trainer for Knowbility, whose mission is “to support the independence of children and adults with disabilities by promoting the use and improving the availability of information technology – barrier-free IT.” In addition, she is currently co-manager of the Web Standards Project (WaSP), a grassroots coalition fighting for standards that ensure simple, affordable access to Web technologies for all. She is passionate about interactive learning in museums; she was the technical lead for the Blanton Museum’s iTour and has consulted with Creativity Express to create art learning modules for children. She has Bachelor’s degrees from UT in Business Management and Psychology.

Gary L. TalbotGARY L. TALBOT is Assistant General Manager for System-Wide Accessibility with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The Authority operates one of the largest mass transit systems in the United States; it comprises a vast network of bus and rail lines, including rapid bus transportation, and rapid rail, light rail, and commuter rail service. Before joining MBTA in 2007, Mr. Talbot served as a senior Engineer with Walt Disney World Ride and Show Engineering in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, where he oversaw design and development of ride and attraction accessibility enhancements. He previously managed the General Motors Mobility Center in Warren, Michigan. Mr. Talbot currently chairs the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Adaptive Devices Standards Committee, which has responsibility for developing technical standards for adaptive devices used in personal – use vehicles by persons with disabilities. A resident of Foxboro, Massachusetts, he holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, and is active in various trade and civic organizations. He was appointed to the United States Access Board by President Bush in 2004, and was reappointed to a second term in 2007.

Jerry WolffeJERRY WOLFFE is an award-winning journalist, lecturer, columnist and civil rights advocate for people with disabilities. His “Voices of Disability” column at The Oakland Press began in 1999 and has won some 20 journalism and community awards for excellence. These include the Jim Neubacher award from the Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority, the Sondra Berlin Unsung Hero award from the Disability Network of Oakland/Macomb, two “Dove” media awards from the ARC of Oakland County, several from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Michigan Press Association, the former United Press International and the Associated Press, and a Community Service Award from the Macomb County Intermediate School District for increasing knowledge of the ability of people with disabilities and for advocacy for the civil rights of persons with disabilities. Wolffe also received four awards from the EEOC and Department of Justice for implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act. He was among 200 people in the nation who were selected by the federal government and advocacy groups to learn and enforce the ADA after it was signed into law by President George Bush on July 26, 1990. He has been the keynote speaker at many conferences on disability, including those for the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, the Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority, the Michigan Rehabilitation Services, the newly formed Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Association and others throughout the nation. In October, 2009, Wolffe was given the Rick Knas Lifetime Achievement award and inducted into the Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame. He lives with his wife, JoAnn, and service animal, Mr. Norton, in Macomb Township, Michigan.


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