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Build It In, Don’t Bolt It On: Beyond the ADA and How Museums Can Lead in the Design for Disability

  • Thursday, April 19, 2018
  • 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
  • J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University, Room 121. Address: 1630 Holloway Ave., San Francisco CA 94132.


Registration is closed

Program Details:

This program will consist of short presentations and a hands-on workshop led by members of the disability community exploring best practices in exhibition design and programming. We will explore various ways to build in accessibility from concept to completion.

Note: this is an accessible event and is therefore scent-free. If you require ASL interpretation, please let us know ASAP (


Cathy Kudlick, History Professor and Director of the Longmore Institute on Disability, San Francisco State University. Cathy’s numerous publications on disability include “Access as Activism: Bringing the Museum to the People” (forthcoming in Museums and Activism) with Edward M. Luby. She is also co-editing The Oxford Handbook of Disability History. Cathy will discuss the development of “Patient No More: People with Disabilities Securing Civil Rights,” an accessible disability history exhibition:

Cecile Puretz, Access and Community Engagement Manager, Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM). Since 2008, Cecile has guided the CJM in creating accessibility programming and outreach efforts. These initiatives have lowered barriers to participation for audiences with disabilities and others who have traditionally lacked access to the arts. In 2010, Cecile co-founded the Bay Area Arts Access Collective (BAAAC), a grassroots network of individuals dedicated to creating a more inclusive and accessible Bay Area cultural sector by offering free professional development workshops. Cecile will talk about “Haptic Encounters,” a collaborative project with UC Berkeley professor and blind writer Georgina Kleege, exploring how tactile and kinesthetic explorations of works of art can engage all visitors.

Karen Bernicker, Access Coordinator, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Karen has a Master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and Disability Studies from New York University, and over 20 years of experience developing programs for persons with disabilities. She has a dual disability of low vision/hearing. Her job is to ensure that museums are physically and programmatically accessible for all underserved populations. Karen will talk about access days and low-vision tours at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Joy Elan, Bay Area writer. An award-winning author and spoken word artist, Joy uses her writing to advocate for civil rights for people of color, women, and people with disabilities. She has a M.A. in Education from Stanford University. Born with a hearing loss, Joy will talk from the perspective of a deaf female museum, arts performer, and consumer.

Anthony Tusler, writer, photographer, consultant, trainer, and disability issues advocate will moderate the program. Anthony was the founding Director of the Disability Resource Center at Sonoma State University, and served there for 22 years. He co-curated D&A2, which was perhaps the first fine art show with disability as its explicit subject matter. Anthony has helped to launch a number of non-profits, including the Institute on Alcohol, Drugs, and Disability, Community Resources for Independence, Disability Associates, and the National Center on Disability and Journalism. He is a co-founder of Disability Arts: Bay Area and was an Access Advisor for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

After the program, audience members are invited to join in a quick tour of the university’s new Global Museum, led by Director Paige Bardolph and Associate Director Christine  Fogarty of the SFSU Museum Studies program!

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