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Exhibitions: on the road to accessibility

Audio and tactile content have already been installed to make the Microcosm exhibition and the visit itineraries accessible to all


Tactile content and audio description in Microcosm exhibition
Tactile content is now available in the Microcosm exhibition (Image: CERN)

Accessibility is making its way into CERN’s exhibitions. Since the summer, audio and tactile content have been available in the Microcosm exhibition. The corridor showing the history of the universe and the exhibits on the linear accelerator, the LHC and CMS now include 3D tactile content and audio description available via a smartphone. The audio content was developed in collaboration with Céline Witschard, a specialist in information and accessibility.

The initiative arose from a workshop that was attended by scientists, design experts, content developers and members of the Swiss Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The aim was to find ways to adapt the existing content of the Microcosm exhibition to make it accessible to blind and visually impaired visitors. Since then, the exhibitions team has made several changes to the Microcosm exhibition as well as to some of the tour itineraries. For instance, the itinerary around the magnet test hall (SM18) now includes tactile content. Content specially designed for blind and visually impaired visitors will gradually be added to other itineraries.

 “It’s a small step on the road to accessibility, but an important one because it will trigger other efforts to make the exhibitions and itineraries more accessible to all visitors,” explains Emma Sanders, head of the Exhibitions section of the Education, Communications and Outreach group. “This initiative has made our colleagues more aware of the importance of accessibility, which is now taken into account right from the design phase of our future exhibitions,” she concludes.