Inclusive Design and Accessibility
We are committed to ensuring that the Museum experience is accessible for all ages and abilities.
Around the Museum
The Museum's Accessible Drop-off Entrance has four parking stalls and brings visitors right to the doors of the Museum. A valid provincial permit must be displayed in the vehicle to park in these stalls. Additional accessible parking can be found along Israel Asper Way.
All Museum entrances are accessible to people using wheeled devices and people who prefer to avoid stairs. An Accessible Drop-off Entrance allows passengers to be dropped off in close proximity to entry doors.
Admission is free for one person accompanying a person with special needs.
Service animals such as guide dogs and hearing dogs are welcome.
- Ramps – All galleries can be accessed through a series of inclined ramps with resting spots at regular intervals.
- Elevators – An elevator located in Bonnie & John Buhler Hall stops at all gallery levels, from levels 2 through 7. A second elevator starting at level 3 accesses the higher level galleries and the Tower of Hope.
- Wheelchair and strollers – These are available on a first come, first-served basis at the main level Coat Check. We require a form of photo ID for the free rental.
- Cane-seats – Foldable, portable cane-seats are available to borrow.
- Electric scooters – Personal scooters used for mobility purposes are permitted within the Museum.
Multiple washrooms are available on every gallery level. This includes at least one universal (gender-neutral and barrier-free) washroom on levels 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7. The universal washroom behind the Coat Check area on Level 1 is equipped with an adult-sized change table and motorized transfer lift; all other universal washrooms contain baby change tables.
A pay phone located near the Coat Check is TTY capable.
Accessible mobile app
Download the Museum’s free mobile app for a fully accessible self-guided Museum tour. You can use the Museum’s free Wi-Fi to download the app to your iOS or Android device, or borrow an iPod from the Ticketing and Information desk at the main entrance. You can also download the app before your visit to take a virtual tour and learn about the spaces you’d like to explore. It is available in English, French, American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ). Accessible highlights of the app include:
- An audio guide – including the voices of Museum staff members – describes each gallery and provides highlights of exhibits and architecture. Text-based transcripts can also be viewed. Images and video are used to create a rich, interactive experience. Descriptive audio will soon be incorporated for all visual elements.
- Sign language – For visitors who are Deaf or hard of hearing, the app can be viewed in ASL or LSQ and includes additional sign-language content for several exhibits.
- A “Near Me” mode connects your device through low-frequency iBeacons to over 120 Universal Access Points (UAPs) located throughout the Museum (see below). Designed to assist visitors who are blind or have low vision, this function can be used by all visitors to create an experience focused on key exhibit highlights. You can also type in the UAP number to access the exhibit information from anywhere. This is the first use of iBeacon technology in a Canadian cultural institution, and the largest such use in the world.
- An accessible interactive map of the Museum’s public spaces to help you find your way. The map can tell you where you are, show you the floorplans, or guide you to your destination with text-based directions.
Universal Access Points
All static exhibition content as well as audio tours can be accessed via a tactile marker called a Universal Access Point or UAP. UAPs are located at strategic points throughout exhibit areas. These markers can be found on walls and exhibit panels, and are indicated on the floor through the use of a tactile floor strip perpendicular to the exhibit. The markers are digitally-enabled by a device carried by the visitor and consist of raised numbers and Braille codes that link to audio files.
Adjacent to each touch screen interface is a Universal Keypad (button pad).
The Universal Key Pad, or UKP, allows visitors to experience the digital content in touch screen interfaces through accessible tactile controls and voiced instructions. We have two types of UKPs, an Interactive UKP and an Audio UKP. The Interactive UKP is located adjacent to each touch screen interface. This type of UKP allows visitors to access the full functionality of the Museum’s interactive exhibits. It provides:
- Basic volume controls
- Gives access to descriptive audio tracks through headphones plugged into an audio jack,
- Includes a directional keypad for menu navigation, and provides zoom functionality.
The Audio UKP provides basic volume controls and gives access to descriptive audio tracks through headphones plugged into an audio jack. The audio UKPs are located in theater benches and at video monitors that are not navigable. UKPs at monitors and touch screen interfaces are indicated on the floor through the use of a tactile floor strip perpendicular to the exhibit.
Instructions for Operation – Audio Universal Key Pad
- The Audio UKP consists of an audio jack and three buttons: the Audio button, Louder button and Softer button.
- Plug headphones into the audio jack on the UKP to hear the exhibit audio that is currently playing.
- Touch the Audio button to hear descriptive audio, where applicable.
- Use the Louder and Softer buttons to raise or lower the volume of the audio coming through the headphones.
Instructions for Operation – Interactive Universal Key Pad
- In addition to the audio jack and audio controls, the Interactive UKP includes a directional keypad with up, down, left and right arrows, as well as the following buttons: Select, Back, Home, Help, Zoom In and Zoom Out.
- Plug headphones into the audio jack on the UKP to hear the exhibit audio that is currently playing. This is also how you get access to voiced instructions.
- Upon touching the Interactive UKP for the first time, you will be prompted to choose a language and a speech speed in order to proceed to the menus, which are all voiced text or text-to-speech. The voiced instructions and descriptions will guide you through the exhibit content. If there are screens in the exhibit, they will not show these instructions — you can only hear them through your headphones.
- Use the up, down, left and right arrow buttons to move up and down through text-to-speech menus or to move forward and backward through items in a menu. The center Select button allows you to activate items to hear more instructions, audio or text content, descriptions of images, or to play a video.
- Touch the Back button to go back up a menu level, if applicable, or go back to the start of the main menu.
- Press the Home button to return to the language selection menu.
- The Help button tells you how to use the Universal Key Pad. You can access Help information at any time.
- Menu items that have a corresponding visual component on a screen will be highlighted as you navigate. This will allow you to find elements that you may want to zoom into. Use the Zoom In or Zoom Out buttons, located above the Audio button, to zoom into elements on a screen. While in zoom mode, move between elements by using the directional arrow buttons, where applicable.
All videos with spoken words (excluding music lyrics) are interpreted via ASL and LSQ on screen.
It is important to note that the signers on the screen are not interpreters of ASL/LSQ, but members of the Deaf community. For some exhibits, the ASL and LSQ is delivered through the CMHR mobile app.
A Braille Gallery Guide is available upon request at the Ticketing and Information desk. This guide contains tactile maps of the galleries and English and French Braille. In addition, Braille is used on all Museum UAPs (see above) to provide a code for use with the Museum’s mobile app.
Print size and contrast
All of the exhibits adhere to strict graphic standards to ensure content is as accessible as possible. The exhibit fonts were chosen for typographic elements, such as anatomy and letter proportions, which contribute to legibility and clarity.
Type sizes and placement were carefully measured and chosen based on probable viewing distances and line of sight for visitors of any physical ability. Even small details such as paragraph alignment and specific line-lengths help reduce reader fatigue make content easier to read.
Colour contrast and Light Reflectance Value contrasts were designed to ensure sufficient contrast between the text and background to make text easier to read with different lighting conditions or visual impairments.
- We offer two audio descriptive tours.
- Our videos also contain descriptive audio. The audio will describe what is happening in a scene, as well as read any text that appears on the screen. We are also using descriptive audio as a means of dialogue and narration translation through what we call “Automated Voice Dubbing," so visitors are able to understand what is being said, even if the video is not originally in their first language of English and/or French. The descriptive audio can be toggled on or off.
All videos with spoken words (excluding music lyrics) will have CC in both English and French.
All of our theaters and exhibits with seating offer a choice of bench seating and seating with backs and arms.
If you have questions or want to offer solutions to help improve our services, please Contact Us.