Blog Archive

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act!


Alexandria Wailes, a Tenement Museum educator who is Deaf, leads a walking tour in American Sign Language.

The Tenement Museum is proud to be participating with organizations all across New York City this July to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H. Bush. It was and is a piece of landmark legislation guaranteeing civil rights for people with disabilities. It prohibits discrimination because of a disability. It also created legal incentive to hold businesses, institutions, and public entities accountable for removing barriers that prevent people with disabilities from fully participating in society. Two years after the ADA was passed the Lower East Side Tenement Museum (LESTM) opened its doors for the first time. As a small museum in a very delicate historic structure, ensuring that the museum was and is accessible to all visitors over the years has been challenging.  The strategies the Museum has used to accomplish this goal has gone through many changes and improvements influenced by the ADA.  While the Americans with Disabilities act legally drives institutions to become accessible, the benefits to working towards access for all greatly improves all aspects of the museum experience for any visitor. Incorporating accessibility into the museum experience also extends the reach of our message, and helps us focus on our visitors’ experiences. The Tenement Museum’s stories are ones we are excited to share with all visitors regardless of background or ability. The museum is dedicated to making that a reality by continually offering accessible programs when possible and improving all programming to be as accessible as possible.

In honor of this legislative milestone the museum has scheduled a Hard Times Touch Tour for visitors who are blind or have low vision on July 14. Also scheduled is a Storefront Stories Walk the Neighborhood tour in American Sign Language on July 22. Both of these tours start at 5:30pm, have limited availability, and are free of charge.  Additionally, we are pleased to offer a select number of free tickets for our wheelchair accessible tours: Shop Life and any of our Walk the Neighborhood Tours. To find out more about these three offerings and for information on reserving tickets visit the upcoming events portion of our Accessibility page.

The Tenement Museum also has accessibility options for visitors every day on every tour including assistive listening devices for visitors with hearing loss. If you are visiting the Tenement Museum feel free to contact us to discuss how to make your visit an enjoyable one. To find out more about our accessible options offered every day please visit the Accessibility Page of our website.

The scheduled tours and free tickets this month at the Tenement Museum is only a small part of the New York City celebration of the 25th anniversary of the ADA. There are many celebration events happening throughout New York City in the month of July and beyond. To find out more, visit the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities ADA 25 website.

–Posted by Ellysheva Zeira, Education Associate for Access