Skip to Content

Settlement Agreement Will Ensure Accessibility at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC

June 4, 2008 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

(202) 514-2007 [Voice/Relay]
(202) 514-1888 [TTY]


WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today a settlement
agreement with the International Spy Museum under the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA). Working together, the Department of Justice and the
museum have come to a settlement agreement, under which the museum agrees to
work to bring the content of its exhibitions, public programs, and other
offerings into full compliance with ADA requirements so that its exhibits
are accessible and effectively communicated to individuals with
disabilities, including individuals with hearing and vision impairments. By
focusing on visitors who are blind or have low vision and who are deaf or
hard of hearing, the agreement establishes a new level of access for
cultural and informal educational settings.

"We applaud the International Spy Museum for its innovative efforts to
improve access to its exhibitions and programs for individuals with
disabilities, and especially for those who are blind or have low vision and
those who are deaf or hard of hearing," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "This agreement will ensure
equal access for people with disabilities who want to participate in the
educational activities offered by the museum."

Of the 50 million Americans with disabilities, 16 million have sensory
disabilities. The agreement seeks to ensure these individuals will have
access to the museum's exhibitions, audiovisual presentations, and programs,
as required by law.

The museum fully cooperated with the Department's investigation and has
demonstrated an effort to find innovative solutions to work toward
compliance. It developed a proprietary technology for closed captioning of
its audiovisual presentations, and has retained experts to help provide
effective access for visitors who are blind or have low vision. When it
reaches full compliance with the settlement agreement, the Spy Museum will
become a national museum leader in welcoming visitors with disabilities.

Under the settlement agreement the museum will provide:

* tactile maps of the museum and floor plan that visitors can borrow;
* regularly scheduled tours with a qualified audio describer to
describe audiovisual presentations, computer interactives, or exhibits;
* a qualified reader to read exhibit labels;
* captions for all audiovisual, audio-only, and computer interactive
programs, or scripts or wall text to communicate the audio narration or
ambient sounds where captioning is not an option;
* a sample of models, and objects or reproductions of objects for
tactile examination accompanied by audio description;
* sign language and oral interpreter services and real-time captioning,
on advance request, for all public programs.
* advertisement of the availability of auxiliary aids and services;
* integrated wheelchair seating areas and companion seats at certain
locations; and
* training for supervisors and managers on the ADA.

The settlement is the result of an investigation conducted after the
Department received a complaint from a blind individual who visited the
museum with a group. He claimed that the museum's exhibits and programs
were inaccessible to visitors who are blind or have low vision.

Title III of the ADA applies to private entities such as museums,
restaurants and stores. It requires that public accommodations ensure that
no individual with a disability is discriminated against on the basis of a
disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the entities' goods, services
and facilities. Where necessary, a public accommodation must also provide
appropriate auxiliary aids and services in order to ensure effective
communication. Title III also requires removal of barriers to access in
existing facilities where it is readily achievable to do so. Any new
construction or alteration to any buildings or facilities, including
exhibitions, must be made in such a manner that those buildings or
facilities meet the requirements of the physical accessibility standards.

The Spy Museum is located in the Pennsylvania Quarter neighborhood in
Washington, D.C., within four blocks of the National Mall. According to
museum officials, more than four million people have visited the museum
since it opened in July of 2002.

People interested in finding out more about the ADA or this agreement can
call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at
1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY), or access its ADA Web site at


Categories: Uncategorized

Quiet Cars on the Next Marlaina

June 1, 2008 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

The issue of quiet cars is very much in the news these days. And, it is an
issue which impacts all of us.
On the next Marlaina, I will be joined by Karen Gourgey, ACB New York, and
Debbie Kent Stein, National Federation of the Blind of Illinois.
These women have been working on the quiet car issue, and have joined
forces to move this issue along and keep it on the radar screens of those
who need to be aware of the potentially life-threatening impact these hybrid
vehicles can have on people who are blind.

This is such an important issue, I urge each and every listener to ACB Radio
to join me for this program, learn the facts and then what you can do. One
voice is power, many voices together are voices of empowerment with a chorus
of creating change.
The Marlaina show is heard on ACB Radio Mainstream.
It all starts on Sunday night at 9 PM Eastern, 6 Pacific, which is Monday
morning at 1 Universal. The program will replay for 24 hours, and of course,
is available via podcast from the ACB Radio replay page. As always, we'll
take your calls at our toll-free number, 866 666 7926.
Please either click the link below, or paste it into your browser directly
on Sunday at 9 PM Eastern, 6 Pacific or Monday at 1 Universal to listen.
As always, thank you so much for your continued support of my ACB Radio
To listen to the show, just click this link or paste it into your browser

Categories: Uncategorized

Coming up on Main Menu for the week of June 4 – Music

June 1, 2008 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker
Hello Everyone,
This week’s Main Menu is all about downloading and listening to music on your computer.  Presented by two music enthusiasts, Brian Hartgen and Anna Dresner, this programme demonstrates some of the ways in which you can access music services and software with a screen-reader.
First, you will hear about J-Tunes version 3.2 from T&T Consultancy, which links the JAWS screen-reader with the iTunes music management system from Apple.  You will learn how to install and use the J-Tunes product including listening to on-line radio stations, subscribing to Podcasts, purchasing tracks and albums from the iTunes Music Store and much more.
You will also hear about purchasing and managing content from Amazon’s MP3 store, EMusic and Napster. Find out how to use your screen-reader with these services.  The discussion surrounding these services is not restricted to JAWS usage.
Would you like to interact with a group of Main Menu listeners about the topics heard on Main Menu and Main Menu Live? You can do this by joining the Main Menu Friends email list. The address to subscribe is:
Come join an already lively group of users.          
Would you like to subscribe to podcast feeds for Main Menu and Main Menu Live? The RSS feeds to add to your podcatching application are:          
Main Menu can be heard on Tuesday evenings at 9:00 Eastern, 6:00 Pacific, and at 1 universal (GMT) on Wednesday mornings on the ACB Radio Main Stream channel.          
Follow this link to listen to the show:          
Jeff Bishop and Darrell Shandrow
The Main Menu Production Team
Categories: Uncategorized