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Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™

Awards

The new Canada Science and Technology Museum is thrilled to be the first national public institution in Canada to receive the Accessibility Certified Gold rating under the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC) program.

The RHFAC program works to help improve accessibility of the built environment – the places where we live, work, and play – in Canada.  The new museum, which reopened its doors on Nov. 17, 2017 following a complete renewal, integrates accessibility into many aspects of its design.

In designing the new museum, we focused on making the overall experience as barrier-free as possible, for as many needs as possible. People with disabilities – and the technologies developed for and by them – are featured in exhibitions throughout the museum.

The Into the Great Outdoors exhibition features perspectives from people with disabilities, and adaptive technologies that have been developed by, and for, people with disabilities to help them access and enjoy outdoor recreation.

The development of all 11 new exhibitions was also informed by accessibility standards. Overarching elements in the exhibitions include multi-sensory engagement, accessibility of digital offerings; and ensuring that key experiences are welcoming to the maximum number of visitors.

Museum experiences

Accessibility standards informed exhibition design for:

  • Height of text panels
  • Touchscreen controls
  • Height range for viewing objects up close
  • Colour, contrast, size, and legibility of text
  • Circulation routes
  • Height, location, and design of seating

Welcome to Canada Science and Technology Museum, where for the past three years, accessibility has been a major priority as we rebuild Canada’s national museum of science and technology.

In designing the new museum, we focused on making the overall experience as barrier-free as possible — for as many needs as possible.

People with disabilities – and the technologies developed for and by them – are featured in exhibitions throughout the museum.

The exhibitions were developed according to our own accessibility standards. While the building’s design was inspired by the City of Ottawa’s Design Standards for Accessibility, we are very proud that the museum has received the very highest level of certification for the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Accessibility is integrated into the design of the museum’s built environment.

The museum features leveled floors, a snowmelt system, and accessible seating throughout.

The Auditorium and Demo Stage are equipped with an assistive listening system for visitors with hearing loss; visitors with hearing impairments can borrow a neck loop from the admission desk.

The exhibitions keep accessibility standards at the forefront of their design; this includes the height of text, colour contrast, and the legibility of text.

Exhibitions incorporate sound, smell, touch, and sight to create a multi-sensory experience for people of all abilities.

A new smartphone wayfinding system for people with visual impairments called Key2Access is offered for museum visitors. This is the first time this app has been used by a museum.

For the comfort of visitors, accessibility has also been worked into services and amenities.

Breastfeeding is permitted anywhere in the museum, however, if a quiet space is needed, there is a family care room just off of the ZOOOM Mini area.

There is a gender-neutral, universal washroom, equipped with an adult-sized change table and a motorized lift.

The museum offers free admission to one support person accompanying a person with disabilities. Service animals, such as guide dogs and hearing dogs, are always welcome.

One of our most important and rewarding pieces in regards to our work on accessibility has been the internal culture that’s been building. It’s not only aware of, but responsive to all the opportunities that our accessibility work presents.

Our team has been building from the bottom up and the top down. It’s coming together, but we also have work to do to share our knowledge and experiences with others across Ingenium – our broader corporation – which includes the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.

We hope you enjoy your visit.

We’re proud of the work we’ve done to make our Museum experience meaningful for everyone. Come visit us soon, we hope you’ll be inspired.

Services and amenities

  • Breastfeeding is permitted anywhere in the museum, however, if privacy or a quiet space is needed, there is a family care room for breastfeeding
  • A gender-neutral/universal washroom, equipped with an adult-sized change table and a motorized lift
  • Auditorium and Demo Stage are equipped with an assistive listening system for visitors with hearing loss; visitors with hearing impairments can borrow a neck loop from the admission desk
  • Exhibits with a sound component feature volume controls and headphone jacks
  • A new smartphone wayfinding system for people with visual impairments called Key2Access; this is the first time this app has been used by a museum
  • Free admission to one support person accompanying a person with disabilities
  • Service animals, such as guide dogs and hearing dogs, are welcome
  • A partnership with Carleton University’s Industrial Design department for accessible seating in the museum’s HUB

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