Usually discussed in relation to physical accessibility for disabled visitors to museums, the term “access” has come to cover all aspects of inclusivity in museum spaces. From having working lifts to ‘relaxed’ programming and ensuring culturally appropriate ceremony and handling with communities of origin, the term is now used throughout museums practice for thinking about how best to make museums spaces open and accessible to all. The term is currently in vogue in UK museums, as part of a general drive to make museums more relevant and get away from the stereotypical image of museums as stuffy, rules-based spaces.

Current conversations around decolonisation have also affirmed the need to extend the meaning of “access” to include ensuring communities of origin have material relating to their cultures and histories made open to them, and certain projects are beginning to speak to the need to connect museum’s mission to inform, educate and preserve material culture with source community protocols.

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