State museum improves visits for visually impaired

The Indiana State Museum has created an app meant to make the museum more accessible to people who are visually impaired or blind.

The Indiana State Museum Guide app provides visitors with an audio tour that guides them to artifacts, interactives and exhibits.

Specific audio instructions, combined with tactile maps and special floor guides, make it easier for visually impaired visitors to navigate the spaces.

“As we started working on renovations to our permanent galleries, we realized that we wanted to think beyond the standard accessibility guidelines and give people who are blind or visually impaired a way to navigate the museum independently,” said Leslie Lorance, new media manager at the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.

Greg Meyer, a member of the Indiana ADA Steering Committee who is visually impaired, participated in a focus group to help develop the app. He said the app is also good for older people or children who can’t read yet.

“The app is great for anybody who wants to listen instead of having to try and read things,” he said in a statement. “I see this app as being a valuable tool for all of us, however we want to use it.”

Currently, visitors can use the app to tour the museum’s two newest galleries—Frozen Reign and First Nations—as well as three of the museum’s cultural galleries.

More tours will be added to the app as the permanent exhibits undergo renovations over the next several years.

The app is available for download through the app stores for iPhones and Androids.

The museum also has iPods available that are pre-loaded with the app for free use during a visit.•

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