You can use these resources to improve your own understanding, as discussion starters, and for training your staff. We encourage you to be curious and find other resources that you think might work well for your organization. The resource guides are not intended to be complete, but to make it easier for you to get started.
Table of Contents
Historic Buildings and Landscapes
- ADA at 30, An Oral History of the Capitol Crawl, 8 minutes. This article shares first–person memories of the 1990 Capitol Crawl by members of ADAPT (American Disabled for Accessible Public Transit) who participated in the event that was one of the catalysts leading to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- U.S. Department of Justice: Maintaining Accessibility in Museums, 10 minutes.
“Regardless of size or income, most museums have legal obligations to provide and maintain accessibility for visitors with disabilities.” This is a short explanation of some very simple ways to provide better access in museums written by the U.S. Department of Justice for the ADA website.
- Accessible Events: Planning and Preparation are Key, 7 minutes. Accessible event planning, for both public and private events, from the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center. Includes tips for communications and marketing for the event, temporary facilities fixes, and how to choose an accessible site for an event.
- Accessibility, 11 minutes from the Inclusive Historian’s Handbook
Toolkits and Training
- How Does the ADA Apply to Historical Landmarks and Older Buildings? 1 hour and 25 minute video. This video is specific to Texas, but has useful information for other regions.
- Preserve MN 2017: Building Codes, The ADA and Historic Buildings, 1 hour and 15 minutes. From the Minnesota Historical Society. This video is specific to Minnesota, but has useful information for other regions. “Learn how code officials review plans, perform inspections, and how rehabilitation projects and alterations to historic buildings can comply with codes and laws.”
Resource for All Museums:
- New England ADA Center: ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities: The ADA Checklist is a key resource to use as a companion tool to the AE toolkit.
- ADA.gov from the U.S. Department of Justice
- ADA National Network: Information, Guidance, and Training on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Contact your regional ADA Center: There are 10 regions in the U.S.
- The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, Region 3 Representing DC, DE, MD, PA, VA, and WV
- U.S. Access Board: Guide to the ABA Accessibility Standards
These resources offer specific advice on planning and implementing public events or programs:
- Access Suggestions for a Public Event, about 9 minutes. Disability justice organization Sins Invalid offers questions to ask during the process of planning a public event, as well as practical advice to ensure a more inclusive environment for people from a wide range of traditionally marginalized groups. Sections 3.4, 4.5 #DisabilityVoices
- A Planning Guide for Making Temporary Events Accessible to People With Disabilities | ADA National Network (adata.org)
Resources for Historic Buildings and Landscapes:
The ADA defines “qualified historic properties” as those eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, or designated as historic under a state or local law.
There is no “grandfather clause” to the ADA, but there is the “Safe Harbor” provision. The ADA does recognize the unique needs of historic places.
If your organization has a historic building or landscape that meets the ADA’s definition and you believe removing a barrier to accessibility might “threaten or destroy” a historically significant part of a building or landscape, it is required to contact your local State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). These offices have at least one staff member who is specially trained to help with achieving ADA compliance for historic places and they can help you find solutions that balance accessibility and historic accuracy.
These resources offer a specific focus on historic places:
- ADA, Structural Accessibility, and Existing Buildings, about 8 minutes. Includes sections, “Not New, Not Altered, What Now?”, “Limitations”, and “Historic Places”.
- NPS Interior Library: Historic Preservation
- Provide Accessibility For Historic Buildings A guide from the Whole Building Foundation includes photographs and images of modifications made to provide access for people with disabilities in ways that preserve the character of the historic property.
- National Park Service Historic Preservation Brief No. 32: Making Historic Properties Accessible, 30 minutes. You will find a solid foundation even though this brief is dated 1993. We are grateful for the early attention that the NPS gave to the ADA and people with disabilities and this brief’s focus on accessibility specifically for historic sites and landscapes.
- What Historic Sites Have Learned After 25 Years with ADA, Engaging Places, 10 minutes. A blog post from the 25th anniversary of the ADA that looks at 4 recent ADA settlement agreements, specific to museums and historic sites. This is helpful to see how communication and problem solving are used to resolve accessibility issues.
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