By: Seth Johnson

Over the course of the 2023 spring semester, the No Limits Leadership Club met with staff at Conner Prairie, advising the living history museum on ways it could be more accessible to all.

Two high-school aged males stand at a podium in the ISBVI auditorium as they present Conner Prairie staff with recommendations on making their museum more accessible.After several months of meaningful conversation, the Leadership Club students presented the Conner Prairie staff with access strategies to consider that would improve the museum’s overall accessibility. Having now taken some time to contemplate the students’ input, Conner Prairie has decided that they would like to have staff members trained in audio description so that they can give audio-described tours of the museum.

In November 2023, Conner Prairie staff members across multiple public-facing departments will take part in a two-day audio description training session led by Toni Bader and Edie McDonnell, who have extensive experience in audio description in Central Indiana. Following the initial two-day training session, the Conner Prairie staff members will then take part in two follow-up practice sessions with Bader and McDonnell, in the hope that they will then be fully equipped to lead audio-described tours of Conner Prairie on their own.

As a result of these training sessions, the Conner Prairie staff will also apply what is learned to develop audio description recordings that can be utilized by guests. Future plans would include recording the audio description tours for self-guided experiences upon request, or if staff are unable to facilitate a tour.

Funding for Conner Prairie’s audio description training will be provided by a subgrant from the Indiana Blind Children’s Foundation, which was made possible by the Lilly Endowment's Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation grant. After receiving training from Bader and McDonnell, Conner Prairie plans to launch their audio description offerings in the spring of 2024. Once these services are in place, guests of the museum who are blind or low vision will be able to register for an audio description tour at no additional cost outside of general admission or a museum membership. Additionally, Conner Prairie plans to use a portion of the funding to purchase headsets and receivers for staff and guests that participate in the tours.

To learn more about Conner Prairie’s work with the No Limits Leadership Club, be sure to attend the 2023 No Limits Celebration featuring An Evening with A.J. Croce, where 12 Stars Media will be premiering a documentary-style short film focused on the partnership between the IBCF Leadership Club and Conner Prairie.



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