Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Occupational Therapy (M.S.)

Degree Program

Occupational Science and Therapy

First Advisor

Jennifer Fortuna

Second Advisor

Stephanie Ogren

Third Advisor

Julia VanderMolen

Fourth Advisor

Alex Forist

Academic Year



For people with visual impairment, environmental features create barriers to inclusion and participation in public places such as museums. This study gathered direct feedback on accessibility from people with visual impairment to inform a major renovation at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. This study used a participatory action research design. Data collection included a guided walk and semi-structured interviews. A descriptive numerical summary and qualitative thematic analysis were used to summarize the results. Twelve participants were assigned to three categories of visual impairment: low vision, legally blind, and totally blind. The primary barriers to accessibility included inaccessible signage, lack of multi-sensory information, and staff training. Suggestions for improving accessibility include adding assistive technology and increased staff involvement. Identifying barriers to accessibility requires involving people with visual impairment in the decision making process. Understanding the unique needs of people with visual impairment will promote inclusion and participation in museum settings.

Available for download on Saturday, July 05, 2025