New guide out on accessibilty of Philly museums, tourist sites

The Barnes Foundation is fully wheelchair accessible, welcomes service animals, and can arrange for a sign language interpreter with three weeks’ notice, among other accommodations for those with disabilities. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )

Visit Philadelphia, the city’s tourism and marketing agency, has put together a guide to the accessibility of the area’s key historical and cultural sites, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, the Franklin Institute, the Please Touch Museum, and Independence National Historical Park.

Long overdue, the guide is far from comprehensive, but it’s a start. There is a need for such information in the real world — perhaps a pamphlet? — and at the moment, there is not even a dedicated web-page on the Visit Philadelphia website.

But the folks at Visit Philly have issued a press release that contains links and information regarding a number of institutions (and organizations like Art-Reach, a private nonprofit focused on helping out people with disabilities or low incomes).

At the art museum, for instance, among many accomodations, special arrangements can be made for the visually impaired to experience the art.

The Museum of the American Revolution is fully wheelchair accessible, lends out assistive listening devices and wheelchairs at its front desk, shows its films with easy-to-read captions — and is developing more programming to share its stories with more people.

And at the Barnes Foundation, manual wheelchairs are available, assistive listening devices are available for use in the auditorium and with the collection gallery tour. Headsets and t-coil loops are available free of charge. Sign language interpreters are available with three weeks’ advance notice. Film and video presentations have open or closed captioning, service animals are welcome, and paid personal-care assistants are not charged admission when accompanying their clients.

The Visit Philadelphia accessibility guide can be found on the organization’s website.

Art Reach can be found here.

Through special arrangement with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Office of Community Engagement and Access, members of Art-Reach, a Philadelphia nonprofit that seeks to increase cultural participation, experience the Rodin Museum up close. (Courtesy of Art-Reach)