Deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences

Exploring a museum collection is a very visual experience, yet deaf audiences are one of the most neglected by museums.

This issue of Museum Practice explores the different communication needs that deaf and hard-of-hearing people have and looks at practical steps museums can take to break down barriers, physically and intellectually.

The importance of introducing British Sign Language (BSL) to museums through deaf-led events and digital guides is examined, alongside the role that subtitles can play in widening access to audiences with hearing loss.

There are also case studies on Signing Art, a Tate project to train more deaf presenters, and the BSL multimedia guide from ss Great Britain.

And the Thackray Museum in Leeds and the V&A in London introduce their work with deaf audiences in Your Case Studies.


Opening up museums to deaf visitors

How museums can become more accessible?

Deaf visitors: physical accessibility checklist

From poor lighting to confusing labels, physical access can be a barrier for deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors

BSL talks and tours

Using deaf presenters is a key part of bringing British Sign Language into museums

BSL multimedia tours at ss Great Britain

This tour was developed specifically for BSL users using deaf actors

Signing Art at Tate

Jo Bradshaw explain how Tate is training deaf presenters to deliver BSL talks

Subtitles for visitors with hearing loss

Subtitles can ensure people with hearing loss don't miss out on the opportunity for deeper engagement with exhibits and events

Your case studies of work with deaf audiences

Case studies on work with deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences from Museum Practice readers

Further resources: deaf audiences

More online resources on working with deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors