A Museum for All of Us

Birdies Door

What started as a simple donation of posters and prints from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to our “Birdie” themed classroom has become so much more.

Early next month museum educators will be teaching a class onsite at Children’s TLC for our three to five year old students. In December, one of our staff members will be part of a panel to help Nelson Atkins docents learn more about children with special needs.

We talked to the Community Programs Manager at the Nelson, Christina Boutros, about some of the other efforts being made to make the museum more accessible. Recently the museum launched an Advisory Committee for Accessibility.

When did the Nelson-Atkins decide to launch the Advisory Committee for Accessibility? Why?

We started meeting on a quarterly basis this past spring, in March of 2015. After working with organizations that serve those with vision and hearing disabilities, it become really clear that many people in these communities weren’t aware of our offerings and didn’t feel comfortable coming to the museum. As an organization, the museum has been intentionally working towards creating an institution that is accessible to people of all backgrounds. The committee was started because we want to improve accessibility in the broadest sense.

What are the goals for the committee?

The primary goal is really for us to listen. We gather feedback on how we can better serve the communities in our programming, events and outreach. We explore ways to train museum staff to be more aware of how we can be more welcoming to those with disabilities. And we look at existing programming to see where the opportunities are to be more inclusive and to make the museum a more accessible place.

If you could tell families of children with disabilities anything you wanted to about the Nelson, what would it be?

Come visit! Share the art with your children; it’s a really awesome collection!

I bet this is a hard question. Do you have a favorite piece of art at the Nelson? If so, why is that a favorite?

That is a difficult question! It would have to be Joseph Cornell’s Pantry Ballet (currently not on view). I usually call them the Lobsters!

cornell3

We can’t wait to show you our students’ artwork after their experiences with the Nelson Atkins educators. We are excited to be a partner in helping the Nelson become more accessible for all of us.

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