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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with National Museum of Crime and Punishment to Improve Access for People with Disabilities

The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a settlement with the National Museum of Crime and Punishment (Crime Museum) to address alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The settlement agreement resolves allegations that some of the Crime Museum’s programs, exhibits and facilities were not accessible to people with disabilities.  As a place of public accommodation under Title III of the ADA, the Crime Museum is required to be accessible to people with disabilities and provide full and equal enjoyment of its goods, services and facilities.

The Crime Museum, located in Washington, D.C., explores the history of crime, law enforcement, forensic science and crime scene investigation (CSI).  Displays and exhibits are spread across three stories and 28,000 square feet of gallery space focusing on law enforcement from medieval times, the time of pirates and the old west, up to the present.  The Crime Museum’s permanent exhibits include a CSI lab, a simulated FBI shooting range, a high speed police simulator, a galley of notorious criminals and America’s Most Wanted stage set.

Under the settlement, the Crime Museum must take steps to ensure that all of its programs, exhibits and facilities are accessible to people with disabilities, including by:

  • providing staff assistance or pre-recorded audio description of program and exhibit information for patrons who are blind or have low vision;
  • providing a printed copy of program information that is not currently available in print, such as daily and seasonal exhibits that are not in the printed brochure, for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing;
  • providing museum tours that are audio described and include tactile experiences for individuals who are blind or have low vision;
  • providing printed materials, floor plans and maps in alternate formats (audio, large print and Braille); 
  • providing a description in an accessible format of each museum-sponsored public program and special event;
  • ensuring that its website conforms to the Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0; and
  • remediating physical barriers such as protruding objects, inaccessible routes and restroom barriers.

“This agreement ensures that people with disabilities will be able to enjoy the fascinating elements of the history of crime and law enforcement together with their friends and family just like other patrons,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division.  “The Justice Department is committed to removing these types of barriers, and we commend the Crime Museum’s efforts to improve accessibility for all patrons.”   

The agreement resolves a compliance review under the ADA.  People interested in finding out more about the ADA, the Standards for Accessible Design or this agreement can call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY), or visit the ADA website.

Updated August 27, 2015