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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In recent years, museums of various kinds have broadened their mission and made systematic efforts to develop a dynamic role in learning by offering a wide range of less formal experiences for individuals with diverse characteristics, including individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (DHH). Despite the worthwhile efforts, in the case of DHH individuals, museums frequently neglect to consider their unique communication, cognitive, cultural, and learning characteristics, thus limiting their access and opportunities for fully experiencing what museums have to offer. This chapter examines the potential for creating accessible museum environments and methods that reflect an understanding of the diverse communication, cognitive, cultural, and learning needs of DHH visitors, all of which enhance their access and participation in the museum activities. The role of the physical features of museum spaces for the access and behavior of DHH visitors is emphasized, together with attention to exhibition methods and the communication and cognitive challenges that need to be considered so DHH visitors can get the maximum benefit. The chapter emphasizes the right of individuals who are DHH to nonformal learning and analyzes how museums could become more accessible to DHH individuals by designing, from the beginning, participatory learning experiences that address their diverse needs.

Keywords: nonformal learning, deaf, museums, communication access, universal design for learning, inclusion

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