Several new tours were added marking accessibility as an important aspect of welcoming all to the Nelson:
• In 2018 the Art beyond Sight tour was developed for those with low vision. Docents and museum staff created eight tours after being trained by Alpha Point and Whole Person, two agencies serving those with low vision. Early tours were evaluated by the patrons with low vision. These participants gave feedback on improving the tours.
• Regular tours for people with hearing difficulty are being signed. The 2018 docent training class has two individuals, museum staff, with limited hearing. An interpreter is always in the training class with them.
• Minds in Motion, a tour for those with Alzheimer’s and other memory loss issues, started slowly a few years ago. Beginning in 2018, unique tours are provided monthly and these tours are listed on the museum’s calendar of events. In addition, nursing homes and other facilities can sign up on our website to bring groups at any time they request.
Denise Saper, Pati Chasnoff and Carol Cowden, Docents, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Outside experts have provided lectures for the entire docent body on sensitivity, bias, and diversity. Next month docents will be in the galleries practicing using this information to help docents become more effective with diverse audiences and challenging issues.
All these changes represent an important part of the Nelson’s commitment to create a welcoming environment for diverse museum goers. The Nelson aims to be a place “Where the power of art engages the spirit of community” - the entire community.