This month marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which ensured equal access to persons with limited mobility, limited vision, limited hearing, and other disabilities. Shortly after this law was enacted in 1990, museums and historic sites were scrambling to figure out the consequences, especially the cost of installing ramps or hiring sign-language interpreters.
Much of it also revolved thinking bigger and realizing that improving access for the disabled would improve the experience for everyone. For example, lever handles replaced doorknobs, which makes it easier to open a door when you’re carrying a package; enlarging type and increasing contrast on exhibit labels makes them easier to read (which I really appreciated as I grew older); and integrating ramps and removing thresholds is nice for visitors in wheelchairs and for staff who are always hauling tables and chairs for events. For several years, professional associations hosted sessions and printed books to explain ADA to help museums figure out how to respond in an effective and thoughtful manner.
Little discussed, however, is that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) also investigated several museums and historic sites for Continue reading →
The State of the First Amendment survey, conducted each year since 1997 by the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, tests Americans’ knowledge of their core freedoms and samples their opinions on First Amendment issues of the day. The survey again found that most Americans are unable to name more than one or two of the five freedoms in the First Amendment —religion, speech, press, assembly and petition— and that one-third cannot name any of the five. Looks like a great opportunity for history organizations!
The 2015 survey questions also covered topics including the use of Confederate flags Continue reading →
A review of the latest Forms 990 of more than two dozen of America’s biggest museums identified the most highly compensated executives in the field. Among these museums, annual compensation ranged from $228,000 to $1,822,257 and the average was $727,000. Seven directors earn more than one million dollars per year, as follows: