Lawsuit Over Access Forced Improvements At King Tut Exhibit
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 21, 2006
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA--Museum patrons with disabilities experienced better access during the second half of the King Tutankhamun exhibit's stay at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art because of improvements prompted by a local discrimination lawsuit.
A group of five Broward County residents, three of which are blind and two of which use motorized scooters because of physical disabilities, sued the museum on February 6, accusing it of violating their rights under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. Among other things, the group claimed that -- from the time the exhibit opened on December 15 -- the museum failed to provide enough accessible restrooms, built too many barriers preventing scooters and wheelchairs from navigating through the exhibit, and provided audio descriptions for just 19 of the 130 ancient artifacts on display.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Wednesday that museum and exhibit organizers settled the case, agreeing to provide guided tours, allow service animals into the exhibit, and design signs with large print directing visitors to the service desk. Museum officials said most of the changes were made within days of the complaint.
Joshua Entin, the attorney who represented the plaintiffs, said the case was not over -- even though the last day is April 23 -- because the settlement failed to address structural barriers at the museum or outline what accessibility policies the exhibit organizers will follow when the Tut exhibit travels to its final three destinations.
The exhibit, which includes relics from King Tut's tomb and other ancient Egyptian gravesites, is scheduled for Chicago from May 26 through January 1, 2007; Philadelphia from February 3 through September 30, 2007; and finally in London, England, beginning November 1, 2007.
King Tut - Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition