Improving the experience of the Deaf community and those with Hearing Loss at Museums and Heritage Sites

Digability may have come to an end but we are still working hard to spread the word about inclusivity and accessibility in archaeology and heritage. Funded by the Council for British Archaeology we were able today to deliver a session on improving the experience of the Deaf and Hard of hearing when visiting Musuems and heritage sites. Led by a deaf tutor, Steve Gibson, and supported by one of the Deaf Digability students, David Leech,( you can read about David’s experiences if the project on the student experience page) the 16 attendees found out the difference between Deaf and deaf, the hard of hearing and deafened. We then learnt about how to communicate with Deaf, deaf and hard of hearing visitors including good practice for lip reading, writing things down and we even learnt a few signs. We also learnt about how to work with a BSL interpreter.

We talked about good practice already happening such as employing Deaf volunteers through Workwise and BSL tours happening at the attendees places of work and we talked about other musuems and galleries such as Tate Britain, the British Museum and the  Imperial War Museum where BSL interpretation is available about some of the objects via tablets or displays. We also discussed Health and Safety issues such as alerting people to fire alarms and and associated disability, Ushers syndrome where deafness is accompanied with  deteriorating eyesight.

The feedback to the course was fantastic with attendees reporting the they had been inspired to do more and to try and learn some BSL.

A huge thank you to all those who attended and for all your contributions to the session and thank you to the CBA for sponsoring this event.

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