Community settings allow individuals to connect and interact socially with others, and engage in new learning experiences. One type of community setting, public art museums, provide rich, cultural experiences for individuals that are distinctive and often repeated, due to changing exhibits. Unfortunately, for individuals with disabilities, these settings can have a negative impact if the physical environment or the social interactions with docents impede individuals' abilities to function and benefit from this type of community engagement. The principles of universal design (UD) can transform these negative experiences into positive ones that benefit the individuals and the community settings. One public institution of higher education in the United States, Worcester State University in Worcester, Massachusetts has a unique partnership with a nearby art museum. This partnership allowed two separate projects from two health-related professions to be conducted using the principles of UD. One project from the Occupational Therapy Department examined the physical environment in the context of an undergraduate course, and the other project from the Communication and Sciences Department investigated the delivery of docents' presentations for individuals with communication disorders, such as hearing loss. Although each project examined different aspects of the same museum experience, the recommendations benefit all museum visitors and increase community engagement.
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