1. Please provide information about the CIMUSET 2023 conference. When is it being held? Which institution or organization is hosting this conference, and in which city and country is it located? Additionally, could you provide more information about the scheduling of the main committee meetings and side events of this conference?

The CIMUSET Conference 2023 was held from October 23 to 27, 2023. It was hosted by the CIMUSET committee in collaboration with the National Aviation Museum of Korea (NAMOK) in Seoul, Korea. The CIMUSET Conference 2023 was held under the main theme of enhancing the accessibility to museums.

  1. Given the new definition of museums by ICOM, which emphasizes that museums are “accessible and inclusive institutions that open their doors to everyone and foster diversity and sustainability,” how can science and technology museums be expected to embrace and implement this concept? Furthermore, what discussions and initiatives are expected to promote these principles in the community of science and technology museums at the 50th annual CIMUSET conference?

The sub-themes were “For whom is accessibility improved and enhanced?”, “How can we improve and enhance accessibility in museums?”, and “What role should museums play in strengthening accessibility?” In addition, the Conference offered various opportunities to learn about Korea and Korea’s science and technology museums.

A total of 57 papers were presented from Museum professionals working in more than 30 countries from six continents on how their respective Museums or various methods and technology can be incorporated in making all kind of museums more accessible for everyone with special emphasis on Science and Technology Museums.

  1. Are there any specific challenges or obstacles that museums face in their efforts to increase accessibility? How can CIMUSET help museums overcome these challenges?

In the conference an attempt was made in identifying various issues, obstacles and challenges museum’s face in making is more inclusive and accessible. CIMUSET provided much needed global platform for Museum professionals from around the world to identify various issues and how some of them tackled it successfully at their respective countries.

  1. “Accessibility is a multifaceted concept, including physical, intellectual, and emotional accessibility. Could you elaborate on strategies and best practices museums can adopt to ensure a holistic approach to accessibility, addressing these various dimensions?”

It’s very true that Accessibility is a multifaceted concept. But it is not limited to visitors with physical, intellectual, and emotional accessibility, but also for visitors who have logistic issues, literacy issues, language barriers, confidence or lack of interest in museum activities, gender/religion/cast / racial inequalities, and financial issues. The accessibility issues are faced by Museums too with a shortage of continuous funding, adequate and compatible resource persons, lack of staff, and sometimes lack of infrastructural capabilities. It requires a sensible and sensitive approach from everyone in the Museum administration, the curatorial team, entire staff which comes in contact with visitors from entering the premises till they leave to make every visitor’s visit completely inclusive and accessible.

  1. “One of the key themes for the conference is ‘What role should museums play in strengthening accessibility?’ Could you discuss some successful examples of community-based roles that museums have taken on to enhance accessibility and inclusivity?”

From a point of view, it is a continuous learning process. Not only to bring non-visitors to visit the museum but also to make them motivated for their next visits. The more efforts we put into bringing non-visitors to museums, the more we understand why they don’t visit the museums. It helps in making new policies and new activities in bringing left-out sections of society to the museums. Each society in each country or region is very diverse and possesses unique issues and requires unique strategies to tackle them more efficiently.

  1. “With rapid advancements in technology, how can museums ensure that they stay updated and relevant in their efforts to improve accessibility, especially for digitally disadvantaged audiences?”

Indeed, rapid advancement in technology is a curse and boon at the same time. It requires continuous funding to sustain the infrastructure, sustain the quality and efficient resource persons for a long time with museums, and in many cases continuous collaborative relations with peer organizations in respective activities to carry out very efficiently and successfully.

  1. “In the context of improving accessibility, how can museums engage with socially and educationally disadvantaged communities to bridge gaps in access to cultural and scientific resources?”

The first change required is to minimize reading material and replace it with interactive activities and tools with more visual and audio-based guidance in the local language and dialect.

The second change required is to identify if socially and educationally disadvantaged communities can’t come to the Museum then the Museum should be ready to go to them, that can be via telecommunications, Museum Apps, Mobile Vans or Special Exhibitions.

  1. “CIMUSET emphasizes the importance of museum partnerships and networks in strengthening accessibility. Can you share some examples of successful partnerships that have effectively enhanced accessibility in museums, and how can other institutions replicate these models?”

The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) are two distinct organizations in India, each with its own specific focus and mission. However, they may collaborate with other organizations in various ways to achieve their respective goals. Here’s an overview of how they might collaborate with other organizations:

Collaborative Exhibitions and Programs:

IGNCA, dedicated to the promotion of the arts, may collaborate with museums, art galleries, cultural institutions, and artists to organize exhibitions, cultural events, and workshops.

NCSM, focused on science communication, may partner with educational institutions, science centers, research organizations, and scientists to create

exhibitions and programs that engage the public with scientific concepts.

Research and Academic Collaborations:

Both IGNCA and NCSM can collaborate with universities, research institutions, and scholars to conduct research, organize seminars, and publish academic work related to their respective domains.

Educational Outreach:

NCSM often collaborates with schools and educational organizations to develop educational programs and materials that promote science education.

IGNCA may collaborate with educational institutions to enhance the understanding and appreciation of art and culture among students.

Cultural and Artistic Exchange:

IGNCA may collaborate with foreign cultural organizations and embassies to promote cultural exchange, art exhibitions, and performances.

NCSM might collaborate with international science institutions for cross-cultural and scientific collaborations, including joint exhibitions and workshops.

Government Partnerships:

Both IGNCA and NCSM often collaborate with government departments and agencies to receive funding, support, and guidance for their projects and initiatives.

Public Outreach and Awareness:

IGNCA and NCSM may collaborate with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups to increase public awareness and participation in arts and science-related activities.

Technology Partnerships:

NCSM might partner with technology companies or research organizations to incorporate cutting-edge technologies into their exhibitions and interactive displays.

Promotion and Marketing:

IGNCA and NCSM can collaborate with marketing and public relations firms to promote their events and activities, reaching a wider audience.


Both organizations can cross-promote each other’s events and programs when there is an overlap, for instance, exhibitions or events that bridge the gap between art and science.

Cultural and Artistic Preservation:

IGNCA may collaborate with organizations dedicated to the preservation and restoration of historical and cultural artifacts.

Scientific and Artistic Advisory Boards:

Both organizations can establish advisory boards consisting of experts in their respective fields, including scientists and artists, to guide their activities and collaborate on specific projects.

Collaborations with other organizations allow IGNCA and NCSM to leverage resources, expertise, and networks to achieve their goals more effectively, whether those goals involve promoting art and culture or enhancing public understanding of science. The specific nature and extent of collaborations would depend on the objectives and priorities of each organization and the opportunities available to them.

  1. “Environmental creation and conditions for international co-operation are mentioned as key aspects of improving accessibility. Could you explain how museums can create environments that foster international collaboration and exchange of ideas in the pursuit of greater accessibility?”

Collaborations, while presenting opportunities for smaller museums, also raise identity-related challenges. Their unique collections serve as strengths, but when collaborating with larger international institutions or platforms, they may face the risk of overshadowing or diluting their distinct identities. Striking a balance between preserving individuality and leveraging collective strength becomes a critical consideration in such partnerships. The challenge lies in ensuring that collaborative efforts enhance rather than compromise the identity and mission of these smaller museums.

While collaboration holds promise, smaller museums must navigate challenges to foster collaborative efforts effectively. Their limited financial resources and technical expertise necessitate strategic partnerships with larger international institutions. Collaborations can be instrumental in pooling resources, sharing expertise, and expanding reach. However, the success of such endeavors hinges on establishing a robust framework that accommodates the unique identities and goals of smaller museums.

  1. The conference theme suggests changes in understanding and approaching visitors. How can museums adapt their approaches to better serve diverse visitor needs, and what tools or resources can they utilize to achieve this?

My understanding is that Museums can adapt their approaches to better serve diverse visitor needs by implementing a range of strategies and utilizing available tools and resources. Understanding the specific needs of diverse audiences is key. This involves conducting audience research to identify cultural, linguistic, and accessibility requirements. Once these needs are understood, museums can:

Cultural Competency Training: Staff can undergo training to understand and respect the cultural backgrounds of visitors, ensuring that exhibits and programs are inclusive and culturally sensitive.

Multilingual Interpretation: Providing information in multiple languages or utilizing multilingual guides can enhance accessibility for non-English-speaking visitors.

Accessibility Services: Offering services for people with disabilities, such as wheelchair accessibility, sign language interpreters, and Braille materials, ensures inclusivity.

Interactive Technology: Museums can use digital tools like augmented reality apps or QR codes to provide additional information and interactive experiences, accommodating various learning styles.

Collaboration and Community Engagement: Partnering with local communities and diverse organizations can help museums co-create exhibits and programs that resonate with a broader audience.

Online Presence: Building a strong online presence with virtual tours, social media engagement, and digital resources can extend accessibility to those who cannot physically visit.

Feedback Mechanisms: Implementing feedback systems allows visitors to voice their needs and concerns, helping museums adapt their approaches continuously.

By combining these strategies and resources, museums can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment, ensuring that a diverse range of visitors can engage with their collections and programs.

  1. Inclusivity extends beyond just the physical space. How can museums ensure that their online presence and digital resources are also accessible to a wide range of audiences, including those with disabilities?

In my view, Museums can ensure their online presence and digital resources are accessible by adhering to web accessibility standards such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This involves:

Alt Text for Images: Providing descriptive alternative text for images so that screen readers can convey visual content to those with visual impairments. Captioning and Transcripts: Including captions for videos and providing transcripts for audio content to assist individuals with hearing impairments.

Responsive Design: Creating websites that are responsive to various screen sizes and adaptable for people using different devices.

Simple Navigation: Ensuring intuitive and logical website navigation, making it easier for all users to find and interact with content.

Readable Fonts: Using readable fonts and allowing users to adjust text size.

Keyboard Accessibility: Ensuring that all functions can be performed using a keyboard for those who cannot use a mouse.

By implementing these principles, museums can make their online presence and digital resources accessible to a wide range of audiences, including those with disabilities.

  1. Are there any specific challenges or obstacles that museums commonly face when striving to enhance accessibility, and how can CIMUSET assist museums in overcoming these challenges?

Museums often face challenges in enhancing accessibility, including financial constraints, lack of expertise, and the need for infrastructure modifications. CIMUSET (the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Science and Technology) can assist museums by providing comprehensive guidelines and best practices tailored to different types of museums. These guidelines can cover accessibility in exhibits, events, and infrastructure, making it easier for museums to implement necessary changes. Furthermore, CIMUSET can facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration among museums, enabling them to learn from each other’s experiences and identify cost-effective solutions. This support can be instrumental in overcoming common accessibility challenges and promoting inclusivity in museums.

  1. The concept of museum activism and leadership in the context of accessibility is intriguing. Could you provide examples of how museums have taken on activist roles to champion inclusivity and accessibility causes within their communities or globally?

Museums have increasingly embraced activist roles to champion inclusivity and accessibility. For example, the Smithsonian Institution in the United States launched the “Access + Ability” exhibition, celebrating innovations in assistive technology and promoting awareness about disabilities. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, initiated programs like “ASL Nights” with American Sign Language tours, enhancing accessibility for the Deaf community. Internationally, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London established the “Disability and Museum Culture” network, advocating for best practices in disability inclusion. These efforts signify museums’ active commitment to breaking down barriers and leading the way in making culture and knowledge accessible to all.