An Accessible Past helps historic sites overcome barriers to accessibility by clarifying what historic sites must do in order to be legally compliant; in addition, this edited volume provides case studies of creative ways visitors can engage with the museum while retaining the historic integrity of the places and spaces in question. This book will help readers think outside the box when it comes to accessibility at historic sites, regardless of their size or budget.
This book is for practitioners and students in the fields of public history and museum studies.
Heather Pressman is an educator with a passion for accessibility and inclusion. Her background includes work in education, development, and communications. She currently serves as the Director of Learning & Engagement for the Molly Brown House Museum, one of the leading historic houses in terms of accessible programming.
Ms. Pressman has previously presented on museum accessibility at regional and national museum conferences, including AAM. She currently serves as a member of the organizing committee for the Art of Access Alliance in Denver, a consortium working to make Denver’s arts and cultural attractions accessible to all. In this role, she helps plan and organize workshops and symposia for staff and volunteers of Denver area cultural organizations. Prior to moving to Denver, Ms. Pressman was selected as a member of the Accessibility Learning Collaborative, established by the California Networks for Collaboration, a statewide project launched by the California Association of Museums.
She holds a Master’s degree in Museum Studies from The Johns Hopkins University. There, her studies focused on education, accessibility, and developing online communities. She recently co-authored The Art of Access: A Practical Guide for Museum Accessibility (2021), published by Rowman & Littlefield.
Whereas some view preservation and accessibility as incompatible, Heather Pressman and her team of authors emphasize that it is only through access that preservation reaches its full potential. The case studies in An Accessible Past go far beyond installing ramps and other physical accommodation to consider access at its fullest. Their creative approaches will challenge and inspire those considering accessibility at their own sites.
Accessibility is one of the biggest challenges facing our historic sites. An Accessible Past: Making Historic Sites Accessible is of paramount importance to the field as we look to become truly inclusive. The book starts by discussing the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and then in clear and precise language describes what even the smallest museum can do to make their site more accessible and welcoming for everyone. The wide-ranging and creative case studies give detailed and practical information on what sites should consider in determining what they can do. The list of resources and bibliography is impressive and will be useful for anyone looking to improve their historic site.
An Accessible Past: Making Historic Sites Accessible is an indispensable publication for anyone interesting in making their museum or site more welcoming and accessible. The book gives practical information on how sites can truly be more inclusive with examples of what they can do to improve parking, entrances, pathways, signage, exhibitions, websites, programs etc. The wide-ranging and creative case studies look at how a variety of museums ranging from historic houses to transportation museums and landscapes are making real progress with accessibility. The comprehensive list of resources and the bibliography will be of great help to anyone looking to improve their historic site.
Unlock the potential of historic sites and house museums with An Accessible Past. This enlightening guide underscores the importance of preservation and education, demonstrating how they can harmoniously coexist. Through its clear, step-by-step process, your organization can discover its unique path towards accessibility. Compelling case studies ranging from an 18th-century historic house to a 20th-century aircraft carrier prove that with the right approach, anything is indeed possible.