Visit the Museum / About Accessibility at the MIA
About Accessibility at the MIA
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is one of a select group of American museums offering tactile diagram tours to visitors who are blind or have low vision. In these tours, visitors stand before a work of art and touch a raised physical “map” while a specially trained docent verbally describes the work, using vivid details. Dots, dashes, and solid fields of raised or smooth surfaces give the user a sense of perspective and make clear the relationship between the whole work and specific details within it, allowing an in-depth exploration through words and touch. Currently, the Institute has tactile diagrams of Vincent van Gogh’s Olive Trees and Cadzi Cody’s Elk Hide with Scenes of Plains Indian Life.
Visitors who are blind or have low vision may also request an individual guided “touch tour” of select objects in the collection. During touch tours, both the guide and the visitor wear cotton gloves to examine together pre-selected works of sculpture and decorative arts. Museum curators have approved specific objects for touching, among them Picasso’s sculpture Baboon and Young and Thorvaldsen’s Ganymede and the Eagle.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ free admission policy publicly demonstrates the museum’s mission of bringing art to life for everyone. Just as important in fulfilling that mission, but perhaps not so widely known, are the many services, such as those described above, that the Institute offers to people with disabilities in an effort to make its programs and exhibitions accessible to all.
Visitor drop-off/pick-up is located at the Third Avenue entrance circle drive. Free accessible parking is available at several locations near the museum.
The museum is barrier-free. A quick stop at the Welcome Desk in the Third Avenue lobby allows visitors to pick up a wheelchair to use free of charge during their visit. (Wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis, or by phone reservation.)
The Information Desk staff will assist visitors who wish to use a TDD telephone, get copies of select brochures in large print or Braille, or borrow assistive-listening devices to amplify public programs, lectures, and tours.
In addition to assistive-listening devices, the museum offers a public American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted tour on the first Sunday of each month at 1 p.m. Private ASL-interpreted tours may be scheduled at other times as well; visitors should call at least four weeks in advance to make arrangements.
The museum also provides fully accessible restrooms and a private facility in which a companion may assist a visitor. All the services mentioned above are available for school groups with students with disabilities.
To request these or other custom services, visitors may download a Request for Accommodation Form (.pdf) in advance of their visit. The staff at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts looks forward to making everyone’s visit a comfortable, welcoming experience.