Increasing Museum Accessibility for People with Visual Impair ...

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Small- and medium-sized museums offer significant cultural and social value to visitors and communities alike. However, such establishments can inadvertently exclude individuals with vision impairment due to their reliance on visual experiences, including large collections of images. This research addresses such accessibility challenges by investigating the incorporation of additive manufacturing and the potential to recreate 2-dimensional artwork into 3-dimensional tactile parts to enhance art engagement for people with sight loss. Four focus groups were conducted involving twenty-seven participants with different degrees of sight loss. The aim of the study was to gather qualitative data on individual’s preferences and lived experiences through interacting with tactile parts, audio description, and a haptic stand developed as part of the research. The findings reveal enthusiasm for this type of art appreciation and engagement tools. Participants provided insights and feedback on prototype development that were implemented by the research team, contributing to the design process. A key output of this work is the generation of a co-designed haptic stand product enabling museum staff to implement a low-cost solution at a local level. This research provides a valuable contribution to the area of increasing museum accessibility using innovative solutions for diverse visitors.