06 October 2015

Capstone Project Check-In: 10/6/15

Hello! As you can imagine from my sporadic absence, I've been busy as a bee. All good things really, making some fantastic connections, filling out plenty of paperwork, and my project is moving forward wonderfully.

The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum


  • My first big required deadline was last Friday. I turned in my MUSE Capstone Project Approval Form, which entailed an updated project proposal, the names of my advisors, a detailed timeline, milestones I'm trying to hit, and some justification for the project itself. 
  • On Thursday, we had our first required all-cohort meeting to present our initial thoughts and progress to one another. The main takeaway for me is that I really need to nail down what question I am asking through my project. 
    • What am I hoping to address? 
    • How does my project fit into existing work in the field? 
    • What am I going to do with the data I collect?
  • I've made a lot of important connections in the last two weeks.
    • Jennifer Scott, the Director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum has generously agreed to collaborate with the museum and their staff to conduct my research
    • Peter Berg, the Project Coordinator for Technical Assistance and Employer Outreach for Great Lakes ADA met with me last week to discuss how I can get in touch with members of the low-vision community in Chicago to conduct a survey. He also provided me with MANY resources around legal issues in making public spaces ADA compliant. He tipped me off to two recent court settlements around access in museums in DC, which I might use as examples for how access goes beyond architectural barriers.
    • I met Byron Harden of I See Music, LLC last night. He runs a production company and recording studio that also doubles as a vocational school for low-vision and blind students, teaching them how to record, produce, and edit audio of all sorts. This serendipitous meeting has me thinking what a fantastic fit his company would be to record, produce, and edit the audio tour for the Hull-House at a later date.
    • I also chatted with Danielle Linzer, the Director of Access and Public Engagement at the Whitney Museum about the museum's offerings for low-vision visitors. She informed me that they make all of their tactile educational models in house, and that they aren't merely 3-D reproductions of the original art object. Rather, they are reproductions of the art made by education staff - the focus is not only on the tactile quality of the educational tool, but the materiality and process of making it. They made a reproduction of a Mike Kelley sculpture in which they had to go to thrift stores in search of used stuffed animals to repurpose for a replica. The matted worn materials as well as the smell of the toys added a layer of meaning to the way educators and visitors engage with the object. 
    • I met Steve Landau, of Touch Graphics Inc. while at the ICOM-CECA Conference in Washington, DC. This was also pretty serendipitous, given that I'd interacted with one of his 3D audio descriptive models while visiting the San Diego Museum of Art back in January. The experience of touching a reproduction of a painting that was programmed to walk me through the visual components and historical context of the work is something that has stuck with me since I touched the painting earlier this year. To actually meet the man who made it was surreal!
  • I finally finished my CITI Training and have begun to move through the arduous, jargony, time-consuming paperwork for IRB review. Well actually, I'm technically exempt, which means I don't have to go through the full convening of the Board, but I still need to fill out loads of paperwork explaining my research methodology, the point of my project, the surveys I plan on administering, how I will attain consent from the survey participants, and how I will securely store the survey results. I have my work cut out for me!!

  • Tackle the IRB paperwork
    • Write my research protocol
    • Edit the Exemption form
    • Finish writing my survey for vision-impaired individuals
    • Finish writing my interview questions for those working in audio descriptive lines of work
    • Write my consent language
    • Submit, cross fingers, attain approval!
  • Reading all of the articles and books I've gathered on how vision-impairment has been addressed in various ways at different museums in the United States
  • Begin to build my house museum cohort for house museum survey (I would like to email at least 100 spaces)
  • Learn about ADA requirements for access in museums (thanks to Peter Berg for giving me great resources!!)
  • Continue to meet with my advisors about project updates


  1. Awesome! So proud of you and excited for you!!!

    1. Thanks, mom! It's so much work, so many hoops to jump through, but hopefully it will all come together by May!