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Claudine Brown

Page history last edited by Bridget Millmore 10 years, 7 months ago

Claudine K. Brown is the assistant secretary for education and access for the Smithsonian Institution.




"Access and Inclusivity in the Museum", 23 September, 2011


Good morning.  As I listened to the keynote this morning I realized that age has it's privileges and having been in this field for many many years I have had the privilege of witnessing change over time.  Nancy asked me to talk about access and inclusivity in museums.  I think it would be helpful for me to talk a little bit about my very early career in museums because I have had the benefit of witnessing a great deal of that change.  I started my career at the Brooklyn museum, and if any of you know its history it started out as a library, a research library for young men.  It was located originally in Brooklyn heights.  It contained books and historical and scientific specimens.  Originally it was a natural history museum and an art museum and the great whale that was in its halls is at the American Museum of natural History in New York City.  As was the case with many museums of its type, it evolved from a library for young men to an institution that began to look at class issues.  Early museums believed that if indeed the general populous had access to great works of art and wonderful artifacts they would be enlightened and transformed.  Its next way of looking at itself was as an institution that would change and transform the general populous.  I entered the museum profession as a result of the CETA program.  CETA was a program like the WPA that offered jobs to people often in cultural  institutions which wasn't its original intent  but a number of people in the arts world fought for artists to be included.  Many of us got jobs in cultural institutions.  If you were a CETA employee you had to make ten percent less than regular employees, so my first job working in a museum paid me 9,800 dollars a year - just to let you know how fabulous the salaries were then and are now. 


So the Brooklyn museum when I started working there had this motto the Brooklyn museum is for everyone.  My group of people who came in with me and I would say to you we kind of looked like the mod squad.  We were black and Hispanic and Irish and Italian and we were learning from each other about our cultures as well as about our expertise in the world of art.  We really believed that the Brooklyn museum was for everyone.  I'm not sure everyone else did.  We felt duty bound to respond to people's request.  It turned out that the museum is located and still is today across the street from a school for the deaf.  When we were asked to do classes for those students we said yes we believed in that motto.  One of the things we learned right away is that deaf kids are noisy.  Our security guards thought that that was disruptive behavior so often they would come up to us and say you have to discipline this class and make them stop making all of that noise.  We actually learned from the educators from that school and from the kids and from the administrators about how to teach our best classes with those audiences and as a result of those classes in particular we began to train our guards so that their expectations were more realistic.  We also found that there are some times when you do programming for one purpose and it proves to be effective for another. We did many many film programs and we did foreign films because we were attempting to attract immigrant audiences.  We found that the deaf community came out in large number to see these films with these subtitles.  We were open to learning from whoever was available to teach us.  We received a proposal from a woman who worked at the school of visual arts a women named Rose Cancel Keble who said to us you guys need to be teaching art to blind audiences.  There were skeptics on our staff but because we believed that the Brooklyn museum was for everyone what would it hurt to try.  She was engaged in the partnership with the Jewish guild for the blind and had come up with lots of different ways of teaching blind people how to make art.  It was one of our most successful programs.  I say this to you because I think that we make limitations that are not real, whoever our audiences are. We have this anticipation that we cannot meet needs but we don't try.  I once went to lobby in Albany and a member of the legislature said to me there's someone outside who wants to take his community to the museums in New York and he's never been able to get them in and you figure out how to do that and I will figure out how to get you money.  The person with whom I spoke is someone who had received a bus from Denmark that allowed him to transport patients in hospital beds to museums.  He wanted to get them in.  Most of the museums in the city said that was a disruptive act and they could not come in.  We agreed to open the museum at 8:30 several days a week and they were able to wheel these people in their hospital beds.  It didn't cost us anything - the guards were already there.  I say this to you to say that a lot of what we do is about negotiation.  It's about assessing the needs of our publics, identifying what our assets and skills are and figuring out where we meet in the middle. 


The other wonderful thing about being at the Brooklyn museum when I was there is that this was a museum that was attempting to address audiences that museums had neglected, so during my tenure they did the exhibition, Two centuries of Black American art, they did a Hispanic arts exhibition and they did an exhibition called Of women Artists and they did their first showing of Judy Chicago's Dinner Party.  All of those exhibits happened with a little bit of excitement.  In the case of the Dinner Party, there were male maintenance people who refused to dust the plates.  When we did the Of Women Artists exhibition the invitation said it was a fairly formal event and it was black tie optional.  Tons of women showed up in tuxedos.  Again it was a moment when I think the public was teaching us about what they wanted.  They were helping us reshape our expectations.  They were letting us know what they were willing to do in order to get what they wanted.  They were letting us know that they were not cliches.  Museums have functioned like silos.  We have these anticipation you know that African‑Americans aren't going to come out for the Picasso show and that the Hispanics are not going to come to Mary Cassatt show.  We lump people according to their ethnicity and don't understand that they have broad interests.  Our audiences were beginning to teach us they had diverse interests.  We could not just address their needs in a very singular way.  When I was asked to do public programing for the Jacob Lawrence exhibition I decided that the African‑American community that cared about Jacob Lawrence was going to show up.  I decided to work with New York City unions because Jacob Lawrence had relationships with the workers and instead of doing a wine and cheese opening we did a beer and pretzel opening and every single poster sold at that opening.  And Jacob Lawrence signed every single poster.  And one of the things that he said to me was these are my people.  This is why I do my work.  The other thing that he did that I thought was pretty phenomenal is that he agreed to do a children's program.  Within minutes of the printed brochure going out I started getting these phone calls from people saying I understand the program is full my child has to be in this program what size donation do I have to make to get my kid in this program?  I was like what the heck is going on?  Finally, one caller said to me there are not many great American artists who would do a program for kids.  We want our kids to have that experience.  Jacob Lawrence agreed to do a second program and we again did not make it available to patrons and high donors we had a list of people and we did it on a first come first serve basis.  That programming taught us that people value living artists.  They want to engage with them, they want to know them.  They want to interact with them.  Having a chance to be in a room with them to hear them talk and talk about their process is a very meaningful thing for the lay public. 


So that brings me to the Smithsonian.  I worked at the Brooklyn museum for 15 years and then I worked at the Smithsonian for five years and then I worked at the Nathan Cummings foundation for 15 years and now I'm back at the Smithsonian.  What has happened during all of that time?  Let's get back to the original mottto of the Brooklyn museum.  The museum is for everyone.  The image they had for that was a Hicks Peaceable Kingdom painting.  I think of that often because there are definitely lions and lambs in this place.  So how are things different and how are they the same and what is the role of the educators in making institutions accessible and making sure that we are acknowledging and inviting in all of the people who could or would want to be a part of our community.  We have entered the digital age and we have the ability to meet learners where they are and in their homes and classrooms and in their communities and museums are interesting places because we are places of informal learning.  We don't have the same people day after day after day.  We don't give grades.  We can't have the same expectations, but we do need to find out whether or not we are effective and there are ways we are beginning to do that.  What we do know is that people come because they care.  Unlike school there is is not a command that you come and there's no truancy law that says someone is going to visit the house if you didn't show up at the museum.  And for those of us who work at museums we are committed to the content.  We are committed to these places.  We love them.  People who work in museums tend to work in them for a really long time.  Some of us are really committed to our communities.  I worked in the Brooklyn museum long enough to meet kids when they started at five and helped them write their college admissions letters. 


What can we do that schools don't do and what can we do for both people and formal and informal learning environments?  The first piece is exposure.  We can show them things that they may have never seen before.  Objects they have read about, images they have read in books or seen in movies but not seen before in person.  We can motivate them to learn more. Many years ago the Hirshorn Museum did an exhibition called Comparisons which I thought was a great exhibition where they would hang two paintings by the same painter side by side and allow you to compare the two.  I think that people who went through that exhibition learned a lot about their own powers of observation and they learned that no two objects even if they were prints and a limited edition are the same.  They were able to look at objects in ways they never had before. 


Many people who come to our institutions take action.  And they take classes, they come to lectures.  They avail themselves of additional information.  When I first came back here I went to the Oceans Exhibition at the Natural History Museum and just saw tons of people taking pictures of every thing.  They were taking pictures of the objects. They were posing beside them to show scale.  They were taking movies of the movies and photographs of labels.  I decided to ask three people why and what are you going to do with this.  One kid said my parents make me do educational stuff in the summer and I keep it to add to homework to look like I know something.  The second person said I blog and everybody cares about everything I do.  And the third person said to me I keep a journal and this is how I keep my journal it helps me to remember my experiences.  I immediately went to art museums because that's my world and my experience and I'm like what happens in art museum where you can't take photographs.  How are people documenting their memories and how are they blogging and sharing.  I did a little bit of research.  One of the things I found out is that really savvy people actually will go to a museum site and see what artists are showing and then they will go to other sites to see the artists work.  If they don't like it they won't come.  So they are doing a lot of pre-research on‑line.  They also go to You Tube to see if the artist has done a talk.  If they are interested that will inspire them to come.  If they think the artist is not speaking English and is a jerk even if they like the work sometimes they will not come.  The web is educating our public in ways they have never been educated before and helping them determine the kinds of experiences that they want to have.


So the other thing that our institutions do is that they model and demonstrate these discipline based methodologies.  I want to say something about curating because everybody thinks they are doing it.  I have heard 12 year olds talk about curating an experience.  When I was a funder one of my grantees who worked in the performing arts described something that happened to him.  His organization sent out a flier and they were doing spoken word in performances.  They sent it out to literally thousands of people.  Those people who receive it had flier redesigned it and they sent it out to their friends.  When they redesigned it if a person was the last person on the bill or in the middle of the program, but it was their favorite person they made them the head line act.  Then they would rank order who they thought it was important for people to hear and see.  And this organization actually collected a lot of those redesigned e‑mails so that they could see who was drawing people in.  And actually people would show up and they would have printed out sometimes the announcement they got and it would be very different from the announcements that the organization had created.  People see themselves as creating experiences even if you are the person paying for the talent they will curate their own experience.  It is language used all the time.  People who recommend five books to read call themselves curators.  People who recommend plays, people who will recommend works of art that they love call themselves curators. Now do we get upset because people in our profession go to school for a long time and are astute and know about art history?  Or do we give them better curatorial skills so that they do a better job of it? I would say this egg has already been scrambled.  It cannot be unscrambled and put back in the shell.  We need to embrace them and help them do better especially if they are making recommendations that effect what we do. 


One of the things that we have to think about in the digital age is why people come to museums in the first place, what we do really really well and how we do it for actual visitors and how we can do something similar for virtual visitors.  So we know that our audiences want authentic encounters.  They want to see the real thing.  When people talk to me about the Smithsonian they also talk about immersive experiences.  They don't happen as much in art museums but they do happen in science and natural history museums.  You can actually go to a cart and interact with a tarantula in our Natural History Museum.  In our American history museum there are tons of carts some of which do science experiences.  One of the best immersive experiences that I have had in an art museum was at the education center for the Bauhaus show at MoMA.  They offered you Bauhaus assignments and you could sit at tables and do the assignments you could do a drawing where you just had straight lines or curved lines or do a collage that had particular kinds of textures.  People stayed there all day.  There were people who came every day and did the assignments.  When you went upstairs to see the show you understood it fundamentally in a very different way.  It wasn't a high‑tech high maintenance interpretive experience.  It was very low tech.  It opened people's eyes to what they were seeing in the galleries. 


Our institutions place objects in the historic context or art historic context.  It's good to see how work has evolved over time and how an artist in particular has changed his work over time and most of our museums can show you that.  In some instances our institutions make the abstract concrete.  People are looking for that as well.  A trend in museums very recently is something called the constructivist approach to learning which George Hein writes about. And what he suggests is that no one comes into our institutions as an empty vessel.  They come with experiences and they don't want a docent or curator or educator to tell them about what's on the wall.  They want to reveal why they have come and what their experience is.  They want an interaction and an exchange and in doing that you let them own what they see, they make it personal for themselves.  I will give you a quick example of that.  Many years ago since I am so old I was part of a Getty focus group experience.  There was an African‑American male in the focus group.  He was coming regularly to the Brooklyn museum because he loved dutch paintings.  So the group of observers made all kinds of conclusions or jumped to conclusions.  They said maybe he was in the military and you know like maybe that's why he likes these paintings he's seen them before we don't get why this African‑American laborer loves these paintings.  And finally someone asked him.  He said it's the light.  When I was a little boy in Alabama and the sun came through the windows when I woke up it's that light.  These are the only paintings that make me see that light again and have resonance for me.  That's how we let our audiences own what they see and how we let them teach us.  Education right now is a two way street.  We're not just telling people what they should be seeing.  They are letting us know what they see, how it resonates for them and why?  The Smithsonian does really well.  In our museums we have 30 million visitors we have 7.9 million visitors who do our education programs and at any given moment we have about 52 traveling exhibitions that are all over the country.  They are in almost 700 venues in all 50 states.  We do virtual conferences and we have been able to reach about 20, 000 people and we hope to do better at our virtual conferences.  We also have membership museums there are about 170 of those.  And lifelong learners people of all ages from very young campers to older adults attend more than 750 programs a year in this general area.  So we are doing well.  We are doing better than many museums but we have a responsibility to do better.  One of the things that I realize as soon as I came back to this place last year this time was that we are the nation's museum.  We have to ask the question what does that mean?  And we know that there are many people who come here once in a lifetime and there are many people who never get here.  So what's our responsibility to the people who will never come?  How do we function as the nation's museum for people who will never come to our institution.  The other thing we have to ask if we really believe in immersive education and if we want people to have authentic experiences that are different from the experiences they have in schools what does it take to make that happen.  Can we replicate what we do really really well with digital technology.  How are we going to do that? 


One of the things I think about all the time what's the difference between being in a museum and being someplace else.  I used to train docents.  I had a group of docents that would go to senior citizen centers and they would go to hospitals to do classes and they did slide shows.  I would say to them how will your talk at the senior citizen center be different from the talk in the museum.  Many of them had not given this any thought.  So are you going to show the object in the round.  Will we see the bottom of it will we see parts of it that we can never see in the gallery.  If we have a book in the case we can't turn the pages will you show us more than one page in your slides?  How are you thinking about this medium and how to use it differently?  The same question applies to this new technology that we are looking at.  It's not that it offers us better opportunities it's that it offers us different opportunities and we need the figure out what they are and we need to use them effectively.  That is one of the big challenges that we are facing at this moment.  We know that in the way that we think about teaching we think about active learning.  We want students to learn thinking skills we don't want them to learn facts and be able to regurgitate them.  We want them to be problem solvers.  We want them to test the validity of a solution they come up with.  We want them to be smart enough to use the same skills in a different situation.  We are really clear about the fact that young people learn by teaching and for those of you who may have stumbled with the new technology how many of you just raise your hands go to a younger person to help you out?  This is the moment more than ever before to let the young lead us.  They have skills that we do not have.  They are eager and anxious to show us that they have those skills and to help us do what we need to do in a more effective way.  That is an important part of active learning an inquiry base learning.  How does that happen?  One of the things is that in terms of accessibility our institutions have to be more participatory.  We know that by using the technology there's lots of different things our publics can do.  They can vote.  Very recently the Smithsonian's American Art Museum announced they are doing an exhibition on the art of video games.  They listed about sixty video games and let the public vote on which had the best art.  More than four million people voted.  We can comment on what we see.  There are a number of museums that history museums do this in particular they show photographs and people in the community will comment on the photographs they will tell them what year they think the photograph was taken if there are people in it and they will identify them.  The public is beginning to help us contextualize our collections.  They are helping us augment knowledge, they are helping us with interpretation.  They are helping us to solve problems and they are sharing their creative product.  One of the things we have experienced recently which for me is wonderful is that we are participating on an educational social network where teachers down load our lesson plans but they are also uploading the end results, so we did a class on botanical illustration and a teacher did a power point of her students taking a walk, a nature walk and collecting samples coming back to the classroom and drawing the samples and describing them in writing.  We have the evidence of what it looks like.  Before we were guessing.  We were hoping that people were doing a good job.  We now have the possibility of finding out for sure. 


So we live in the digital age where we no longer are having a one way conversation.  It is two way.  We live in a digital age where we have the ability to customize what we do.  We live in an age where people talk about anywhere, any time learning.  I don't know about you when I was a younger person if a kid was hospital ridden somebody was schlepping books to them and they were not part of a learning community.  That is no longer a necessity.  We have children who are home schooled who can be a part of our community not just in terms of getting access to content but we also do some distance learning here.  So that possibility is available to them as well.  We have young people who speak other languages and through some of our social networks we are able to get some of our content translated so that kids who are not native English speakers can also use our content in our materials.  I think the possibilities for accessibility and education are great and have barely been explored.  We are open to those explorations.  We believe we can reach millions of people in powerful and impactful ways.  We also believe that we have a responsibility to do research so we can improve what we do and do it better each time we step out of the gate and try something new.  We think we can't do it without help.  Here is my charge to you if you have good ideas, if you've seen good models and if you know of projects that are promising we do partnerships and we are looking at learning together because the crisis in education in this nation in particular is so great no institution can solve the problems alone.  We are eager to work with others with good ideas, great resources to make a change in how education is done and we want to be a viable partner and get our content out to many people as possible in viable ways.  I thank you.


Respondents Kate Haley-Goldman and Catherine McNally


>> I'm Kate Haley- Goldman from the National Center of Interactive Learning.  I am Catharine McNally we do for people with disabilities.

>> Great.  Thank you.

>> So one of the things that is just a couple of words in terms of wrapping together the different presentations we have seen so far today in having the diversity of the different types of institution that are involved from the art institutions to the wealth of institutions you deal with.  I see some of the same relationships ‑‑ we don't have the same pieces in art about the creator and the curator and the visitor we do in science institutions which I primarily work with.  We do have the discoverer and the passive recipient and the history of science is very enviewed with the power structure that is you talk about so much in art.  I think you see all of these pieces all the way through in the work that I do and what I do is stem education primarily, science, technology, engineers an math education.  We see the dynamics play out in a couple of our main concerns in terms of pipeline and general scientific literacy.  I say this as background one of the things you struck me with is about these audiences and expectations for THEP and who matters an who doesn't matter and how do we accommodate those.  One of the projects I am currently working on is a face book game on origin space science.  We have had a number of different discoveries in term OFS that is I was struck by how technology perpetuates power struggles that we have been struggling with for so long in cultural institutions about who matters.  One is why would you go to face book and one was why would you choose older women audiences as your target for this particular game because it's young people who matter in terms of moving forward science literacy, and the gaming does ‑BT necessarily make sense but unexpected audiences, female gamers older female gamers meaning women over 30 are the most prevelant gamers within our society that they gained more than our children and they game more than college men ‑P if you include casual game anything these pieces and there's assumptions about who these audiences are.  We go to face book that's where people who aren't necessarily bought into our agenda.  They are not there for science.  They are not preaching to chior piece.  What struck me in this various audience.  We were very boldly asked why does women matter why is teaching women over 30 about the scientific issues that face our society matter when we could reach other individuals.  It's seen some of the same type of pieces in the accessible projects I work with why does reaching these individuals matter despite that the fact in one in five Americans have disabilities.  We often reach with our projects audiences we didn't know were there within those pieces and so the project I'm working on focuses on how do we change staff attitudes and how do we change staff responses to reaching out and what my long winded way of asking is how are you dealing with this in an organization such as a Smithsonian from an internal practice point of view rather than from an exclusivity view or inclusiveness of your visitors?


CLAUDINE >> It's such a long question.  I am going to take a piece of it.  It's interesting because you know as a person who comes from the art museum world when I came to the Smithsonian all people talked was science, technology engineering and math.  And the date of birth of women in sciences.  In my conversations with funders they say we don't want to see any more male scientists we want to see female scientists so they can be role models for young women.  We recently did an interactive role‑playing game called van PHEURB that was a game about the sciences and we partnered with MIT.  It was a role‑playing game that had a mystery and we filmed women scientists talking about their work.  We found them talking about the fact that science is, it's in many ways it's not unlike the creative process we learn from our mistakes.  It's not about perfection and getting it right.  People make mistakes and learn from their mistakes having conversations with some of the scientists here one of them who goes to middle schools a lot these are the two big questions that I'm asked most often.  The first is can you be a scientist and be a mother?  The second is can you be a scientist and be a Christian?  That gives you an idea of how women's careers are being framed.  There are all these kids that think if they want to be mothers then they can't be a scientist.  This notion of who has an authoritative voice the museums had authorititive voices our institutions are considered to be reliable resources, so if women are not seeing in the introductory videos for exhibitions if they are not the people who do the lectures, if they are not the people who do the demonstrations then often there is an assumption that they are not in the mix.  We have to figure out how to raise them up an honor them for the work they do.  The other challenge for me and I think that the Smithsonian in all of it's disciplines is an institution that represents many of the jobs in the future.  The kids who I meet and there's lots of statistics about kids who drop out of school don't know anything about those jobs.  So I think a part of the challenge is helping them to imagine you know, I did a talk to my colleagues at NASA and they said does the office of manage and budget know you are talking about imagination that you think your job is about imagination?  I think that a lot of young people are not pursuing interesting compelling work due to lack of imagination.  If you have in one in your community or in your realm of being who is doing a particular kind of work then it dozen exist for you.  It is a void.  So women WH* are doing powerful interesting, exciting work need to be profiled.  We need to know who they are.  Teachers need to know where they get those clips an they need to be featured in classrooms.  There's a series called art 21 that a lot of teachers are using and teachers have said to me I use today fund that project when I worked with them I think cummings foundation.  I show this film clip of the women artist and the girls in my class they write letters to them.  They didn't know the people existed.  They didn't know it was something you could do for a living.  The messages are so powerful for young women.


CATHERINE >> I just wanted to follow up on observations from the Brooklyn museum about you had intended to show foreign film to the immigrant audiences.  The turn out for the deaf audiences.  About six years ago I went to a museum with my family and they wanted to take an audio tour and me being deaf I thought what am I going to do?  I went to the front desk I said hey I'm deaf I want to participate with my family do you have anything to offer me.  They handed me a 50 page transcript.  So I carried this book through the museum.  You know everybody in the gallery had an I pod.  I looked at the I pods I wish I as a deaf person had the use of I pod.  I won't today fit in like that.  It dawned on me that I could take the transcript and create A VIDEO and put it on I pod and have an I pod that works for me.  I went to the apple store and I bought an I pod and I went home and tried to record A VIDEO tour with captions and put it on my I pod and walked through the museum the next day and I had an independent experience that was really exciting for me because I fit in whereas before the accommodation made me stand out.  It didn't make me feel like I was part of the museum experience or we forgot about you well here's a 50 page transcript.  So we ran a pilot with about two hundred deaf and hard of hearing people from Gallaudet.  They all loved it.  We expected that but what ‑‑ was a greater number of nondeaf people were coming up to us and say I want to take that I don't want to follow that around or listen to this audio like no offense to those things they wanted something independent.  It kind of shifted my thinking.  The mass community wanted something that's accessible to me in a technology perspective.  What do you think the opportunities within the Smithsonian from a technology perspective that the whole community loves that can also be used as an accessibility purpose for a person with disability?


>> I think we have a lot to learn from you.  I think the theories around universal design say that great design works for everyone and it doesn't isolate a segment of the audience and says this is just for you, but it say that is we have come up with this good solution that works for many people on many levels, so I would love to hear more about what you are doing and I think we would be willing to explore it.


CATHERINE >> I think what I have noticed in the past in my experiences is I really use social media, the community I connect with are on‑line.  My deaf friends are on‑line and that's how I communicate.  I'm really shy.  I am self conscious walking up to someone in the gallery and say what do you think of this painting.  What are they thinking something is wrong with me or wrong with my speech.  I would like to communicate on twitter and face book and have those face books.  What bothers me about the museum experience that using the technology might be frowned upon because I'm not paying attention.  Is there an opportunity to shift that technology can be good and participatory?


>> I was part of a panel with museum professionals from China recently and one of the questions is there too too much technology and are we tired of all the noise and should some of it go away.  I think we need to be smart about how we use it.  I think that I have been in galleries where there's so many videos blasting at one time that you can't hear any of them.  A part of what will allow us to do what we do better is to talk to our constituent SEUs to find out what is working and have some time to test things out with lots of different kinds of people so we are better informed about the products we make.


>> Do we have time?

>> I am getting caught up on in the conversation.  Take three or four minutes.


KATE>> Building on my comments and thoughts from you.  For me one of the things in the most recent proposal I am working on with the museum in Boston on creating multi media for everyone.  We find that so much of the barrier is not the devices available and the roots are not available but there are some of the things holding us back and partly it's that we don't know about what to do and partly when we query museum professionals the barrier is internal.  So years ago, two years ago when I was judging for museums on the web we made a VOW that we wouldn't accept any website that was not accessible.  We had to step aside from that we didn't have any submitted we only had one or two.  It exists right?  It's out there we could make it accessible and yet we do not.  In preparing for this proposal we looked at what are the barriers.  They were internal.  They were people would say on the surface that they were committed to making things accessible but they felt it was too expensive, too time consuming and too this and we are not working in partnership with groups to make things truly accessible.  One of the things I am interested in is do you struggle with this from an internal perspective, from a staff perspective of how do we change our own vision of the world to make our projects more accessible.  In the end it's not time or money that keeps us back, it's our world view on that.


CLAUDINE >> I think we have to share more.  You know one we good models out there.  If people don't see good models they don't know what's possible.  What we need to share are budgets and consultants that help us, so that people who think they have these impediments can go to specialists who will help them solve the problems and if we don't put the models up and if we don't put them up in detail then people continue to create barriers for themselves that need not exist.


CATHERINE >>  Your comment about creating limitations really stood out to me.  I think museums think oh my gosh accessibilities will cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars when in reality it doesn't.  There's a lot out there that we can retro-fit to work for accessibility purposes which is really what everybody wants.


CLAUDINE >> Just like you created an opportunity for yourself we certainly could open ourselves up to have people submit solutions that will work for themselves an others.


CATHERINE >> I think offering that range of options is really valuable.  I don't know American sign language so when you think we have American sign language we are done.  That's not serving me or an aging baby boomer with a hearing loss.  I think there's other things to consider.


KATE>> Thank you for all of your work.




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