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BMAC Receives Grant To Improve Accessibility

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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) has been awarded a $50,000 grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the “Inspire! Grants for Small Museums” program. The funding will support initiatives to improve digital and in-person accessibility, allowing people with a wide range of abilities and learning styles to take part in meaningful experiences at the museum.

A new, fully accessible BMAC website will make it easier to gain information about exhibits and events, and the museum’s online events will include real-time captioning. Visitors to the museum will be able to use assistive listening devices and iPads pre-loaded with videos of ASL translations of exhibit text. Audio tours and visual descriptions will be available. Children and adults will have access to sensory tools like noise-canceling headphones and tactile materials. Live ASL interpretation will be available on request at online events and at the museum.

“We are enormously grateful to IMLS,” said Kirsten Martsi, the museum’s manager of education and community engagement programs. “These changes are good for everybody—they will make it easier for people with and without disabilities to access our programs and exhibits. To me, it’s a basic equity issue. If we’re offering something, everyone should be able to participate in it. This funding is a catalyst that will enable us to get these initiatives off the ground—and this is only the beginning of what we have planned.”

The award is part of a total of $29,681,960 recently allocated by IMLS to museums across the nation to help them improve services to their communities. “This year’s awardees demonstrate the continuous learning efforts of museums,” said Laura Huerta Migus, IMLS’s deputy director for the Office of Museum Services. “These projects reflect the implementation of lessons learned to revitalize museum practice and workforces while continuing to serve their communities.”

“On behalf of BMAC and all those who will benefit from the accessibility improvements that this grant will make possible, I thank Vermont’s congressional delegation—Sen. Leahy, Sen. Sanders, and Rep. Welch—for their steadfast support of IMLS, and of the arts and accessibility in general,” BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld said. “They are tremendous advocates for the well-being of all Vermonters.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. They advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Their vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. BMAC is open Wednesday-Sunday, 10-4. Admission is on a “pay-as-you-wish” basis. Located in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit

BMAC is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Allen Bros. Oil, Brattleboro Savings & Loan, C&S Wholesale Grocers, the Four Columns Inn, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, and Whetstone Beer Co.


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