Tackling the Accessibility Barrier - One Language at a Time

October 14, 2017

“It’s important to be accessible to all of the people in our neighborhood and our community,” says the museum’s founder, Elsa Longhauser. To this end, they offer bilingual tours and talks, have a frontline staff that speaks Spanish, and offer handouts with Spanish translations of wall text. In conjunction with the Ramírez show, they have invited La Librería, a Spanish-language children’s bookstore, to curate a selection of titles, including a Mayan version of Maurice Sendak’s 1963 classic Where the Wild Things Are.

“Ideally we’d like to be multilingual,” says Longhauser. “Japanese, Chinese … why stop with just Spanish?”

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/oct/02/los-angeles-art-galleries-bilingual-spanish

I came across this article that pays homage to all the efforts the LA museum community is making towards becoming more accessible, for all people of all cultural backgrounds. Especially within major cities in the US, cultural demographics are all over the place! Most majorly, Spanish speakers from our neighbors down south. 

It has become increasingly more popular in our US work with all types of institutions, that Spanish is by default added as a second language. There is no better way to open up your institution to people from all backgrounds to fully engage in your mission, than to offer stories and interpretation in their native tongue. Not to mention the amount of tourists that will have a higher desire to make a pitstop at your institution, if there is an experience they can enjoy more fully. Next to Spanish, we have been hearing a desire to be “China ready” – the growing influx of Chinese tourism to the US has started to demand Chinese translations to serve this community more effectively as well. As other ‘Antennistas’ have wrote about in past blog posts, the more accessible your institution is, the more fully your mission can be realized and appreciated by the widest audience possible. Be it adding languages, ASL, audio descriptive, or kids tours – we applaud the LA community for being a leader in cultural accessibility! 

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