Devisualizing the Museum: From Access to Inclusion

Hannah Thompson, Alison Eardley, Anna Fineman, Rachel Hutchinson, Lindsay Bywood, Matthew Cock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The experience of visiting a museum exhibition is inherently visual. Although blind and partially blind people are increasingly offered some access to collections through audio and tactile content and inventive and accessible programming, these initiatives are infrequent and often assume that the goal is to replace or compensate for the visitor’s lack of sight. We argue that this approach to access is underpinned by ableism. Drawing on four recent initiatives – an inclusive virtual visit, a digital audio-described tour, inclusive creation and engagement workshops, and the co-creation of inclusive content – we suggest that it is only when access initiatives are placed at the center of museums’ offerings, taken seriously as artistic endeavors, and created with, offered to and enjoyed by both blind and non-blind visitors, that museums will move beyond their (often unwitting) ocularcentric assumptions towards a truly inclusive enriched experience for all.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-165
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Museum Education
Issue number2
Early online date24 Jun 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jun 2022


  • access
  • audio description
  • museums
  • blindness
  • inclusion
  • visual impairment
  • ableism

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