ACCESSIBILITY

Introduction

The goal of The Butler Institute of American Art is to provide high quality experiences for visitors, docents, and employees of all ages and capabilities. This plan, therefore, outlines measures to ensure the best possible access to the museum’s exhibits and programs, as well as public spaces, in a manner that promotes dignity, independence, integration, and equal opportunity.

This plan is based on our commitment at The Butler Institute of American Art to human rights and living the fundamental principle that we are all born free and equal in dignity and rights. Our obligations under Title III of the ADA (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations and requiring places of public accommodation and commercial facilities to be designed, constructed, as well as altered in compliance with the ADA accessibility standards) provide a framework to identify and eliminate barriers to accessibility so we can prevent and actively address discrimination against persons with disabilities.

This plan captures accessibility at the Butler today and our way forward: work we have done, work we are doing, and work we intend to do. We will continue to strive to make our programs as accessible as possible to everyone in the future.

Service Animals

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined as any breed of dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The Butler Institute of American Art follows the guidelines set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and therefore, we only allow dogs in our buildings only as accepted service animals.

Access for Persons with Physical Disabilities

Persons with physical disabilities may include those who require the use of a wheelchair or who are ambulatory but require some assistance through use of walkers, canes, or frequent rest stops.

Current provisions:

  • The Butler offers a ramp, as well as elevators, to access both floors. In order to more easily access Butler North, one can enter through the entrance on Tressel Way, where there is a ramp.
  • Designated handicapped parking spaces are provided at the front and rear entrances.
  • The Butler offers wheelchairs for visitors’ use.
  • There are accessible restrooms within the museum.
  • There are handicapped buttons on the Butler’s front and rear entrance doors, which are accessible to wheelchair users.

Plan for future provisions:

  • More chairs and benches will be added around the museum for rest stops.

Services for Blind or Low Vision Visitors

Current provisions:

  • Aira (New access to information remote assistance)
    Aira is an Android and iPhone App visual interpreting service that offers instant access to visual information, anytime and anywhere, from highly trained, remotely located visual interpreters. The Butler Institute of American Art is an Aira Access Location for docents and visitors. Blind and low-vision individuals, as well as other disabled or non-disabled persons can take advantage of using Aira for free to explore the galleries, receive detailed descriptions of artwork, navigate the Butler, shop in the museum store, read the cafe menu, and much more. To download the Aira app, you can either scan the QR code via your iPhone or Android phone, or simply type “Aira Explorer” into the Apple App store or Google Play store app. To learn more about Aira’s service, as well as visual interpreting, please visit their website: www.aira.io
  • Light levels are adequate on stairs and ramps to allow those with low vision to negotiate these areas more easily.
  • Currently, the museum provides braille and large print brochures for new exhibitions with detailed descriptions of each work and also large print images.

Plan for future provisions: 

  • Attention is paid to text sizes on labels and placement of labels to increase readability.
  • For program situations where a staff person or docent is leading a tour and activities, opportunities will be offered for the person who is blind or low vision to handle objects as permissible by museum guidelines.
  • An assessment of the need for audio guides will be undertaken.
  • The Butler’s maps, catalogs, and other materials, including digital, will be made available in large print or braille versions.
  • Touch tours of a few works from our collection.

Services for Deaf or Hard of Hearing Visitors

Current provisions:

  • Amplifier headphones

Plan for future provisions:

  • Accommodation is made for interpreters to be in front of the group to allow the deaf person to see the exhibit and the sign language interpreter together.
  • Butler staff are trained to speak clearly and directly, facing visitors to assist those who are lip-reading.
  • Remote and ASL interpretation will also be offered for tours, events, lectures.

Services for Intellectual Disability Visitors

Current provisions:

  • For program situations, museum staff consults with the teacher or staff in charge of the group to plan and implement necessary modifications.
  • Hands-on activities in programs assist those with intellectual disabilities to greater understanding.
  • Offer sensory bags, like a guide for autistic individuals. The bag includes: noise canceling headphones, fidget, a social narrative, sun glasses and cue cards.

Plan for future provisions:

  • Increased focus will be placed on incorporating various methods of interpretation into exhibits to appeal to varieties of learning styles.

Services for ESO and Other Non-English Visitors

Current provisions:

  • As Youngstown has a large Hispanic population, several docents at The Butler are fluent in Spanish for casual museum visitors, as well as school groups, to communicate effectively. For visitors who speak other languages, a patient attitude is very helpful in communicating with those who have difficulty speaking or understanding English.

Plan for future provisions: 

  • The museum will translate the Butler materials into Spanish.

Other Disabilities

Other less common or less visible disabilities may also affect our visitors – for example, speech difficulties, mental illness. A willingness to make accomodations on a case-by-case basis ensures the best possible experience for all our visitors.

Sensory Sunday

Monthly program for persons on the autism spectrum, as well as those with other cognitive and learning disabilities.

Future Goals (Present – 2 Years)

Goal: WCAG 2.1 AA Compliant

Timeline: Immediate, next 6 months

Resources: Palo

Contact: Joy/Palo

Notes: Over the past several months, Joy has conducted manual testing for the entire Butler website through use of a screenreader, keyboard, etc. She has addressed various issues and has addressed these concerns with PALO. The Butler’s new website has recently launched with a more intuitive and accessible experience with future plans to continue upgrades for the site.

Goal: Internal videos with captions will be produced moving forward

Timeline: Immediate, next 6 months

Resources: All current and future Butler videos uploaded to the Butler’s YouTube channel will offer closed captioning.

Contact: Joy

Notes: N/A

Goal: Standardizing exhibit labels for accessibility

Timeline: Immediate, next 6 months

Resources: All paintings within the Butler’s permanent collection will feature braille and large print labels. The labels and descriptions will be part of a stand-alone brochure as well as a digital copy on the Butler website.

Contact: Joy, Kristen, Liz

Notes: N/A

Goal: Alt text for social media, as well as The Butler website

Timeline: Immediate

Resources: N/A

Contact: Joy

Notes: Currently, Alt text is available on Facebook and Instagram and also the Butler website. Alt text will be added to all future social media and website content.

Goal: Staff, docent, and security training

Timeline: Immediate, next 6 months

Resources: N/A

Contact: Joy, Joyce

Notes: Sensitivity on the part of staff and volunteers to the various needs of all visitors is critical to providing a positive experience. To this end, part of the orientation training for all staff (including volunteers) who interact with the public in any way includes ADA customer service training. Butler staff will communicate with disabled individuals in ways that take into account their disabilities.

Goal: Budget for accessibility requests

Timeline: Immediate

Resources:

Contact: Becky

Notes: From FY24 and beyond, a separate accessibility budget line item has been added.

Goal: Create a disability advisory group

Timeline: Short term, next 1-2 years

Resources: N/A

Contact: Joy

Notes: Local community members with various disabilities will be contacted to be in the disability advisory group for the Butler, where they will provide feedback and suggestions for new accessibility resources.

Goal: Wayfinding (online and in person)

Timeline: Short term, next 1-2 years

Resources: Map, signage, creation of a future Butler online app that will include access to signage, audio descriptions of works, etc. Currently, the Aira service is available for visitors, employees, and guests who wish to receive instant access to visual information. We will continue to expand future offerings regarding navigation to enhance efficiency and independence for everyone.

Contact: Joy

Notes: N/A