Expanding Access to Non-Sighted Visitors: An Innovative and Easy-to-Build Audio Device for Any Museum

Demonstration

David Francis, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, USA

Museums wishing to offer audio players to expand access to non-sighted visitors and others face several difficulties. Most commercial devices are expensive and may be too complex for visitors, particularly those with visual impairment, to operate with ease. On the occasion of the recent exhibition, Second Sight: The Paradox of Vision in Contemporary Art (March 1- June 3, 2018), which problematized the common privileging of vision, and its equation with knowledge or “enlightenment,” the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) developed its own simple audio devices with an average unit cost of under $25. We will describe the collaboration between Ellen Tani, then the BCMA’s Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow, and members of Bowdoin’s IT department that led to the creation of these new devices, utilizing digital sound modules and 3-D printing, and will demonstrate how to build your own, offering clear documentation of the process and guidelines for building your own.

Bibliography:
The Warhol Expands Award-Winning Technology-Based Accessibility Initiatives
https://press.warhol.org/press/the-warhol-expands-award-winning-technology-based-accessibility-initiatives/

Out Loud: Making The Warhol Accessible
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFQp7vAFK1k

Adding Sound to Images
https://sensationalarts.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/adding-sound-to-images/

http://acunningham.com

https://www.bowdoin.edu/art-museum/exhibitions/2018/second-sight.html

http://community.bowdoin.edu/news/2018/03/the-sound-of-art-art-museums-second-sight-exhibit-goes-beyond-the-visual/