This article is part of a series on the U.S. Access Board’s visit to Philadelphia from September 13 – 15
Last week, the U.S. Access Board visited the National Park Service’s Independence National Historical Park as part of its multi-day visit to Philadelphia to learn about the state of accessibility in Philadelphia. The Board met with Park Superintendent Cynthia McLeod, and heard from Bill Caughlan, Park Ranger/Interpretive Specialist, and Paul Stephens, Historical Architect, to understand and experience accessibility features of the Park.
The Board learned about the evolution of accessibility at Independence National Historical Park and the challenges of providing accessible experiences to visitors while maintaining the integrity of historic structures. The Board tried out the Park’s various accessible accommodations, including assistive listening system for curated park tours, audio description wands for self-tours, and virtual tours of upper floors. A highlight of the accessible experiences was the opportunity for Board members and staff who are blind to touch the Liberty Bell, a service that the Park provides all year for visitors who are blind or have low vision. Board members and NPS staff also engaged in a discussion about current plans for future accessible features and recommendations for enhancing access of the Park for people with disabilities.
The Park provides different accessibility services on its Accessibility webpage, specifically information on services for those with mobility disabilities, who are deaf or hard of hearing, are blind or have low vision, and with cognitive disabilities.
Access Board Executive Director Sachin Pavithran touching the Liberty Bell.
Access Board General Counsel Chris Kuczynski touching the Liberty Bell.
Read more about the Board’s visit to Philadelphia in the following articles: