Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center. Photo from Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Conference Session: Increasing Museum Accessibility Inside & Out

By Meagan Baco

Starting from the outside in, this Old Line State Summit session focused on all the ways that museums, historical societies, and historic sites can increase accessibility and access to their collections all in support of fulfilling their missions of education and outreach.

Free Resource: If you missed this session at the Old Line State Summit and/or have an interest in accessibility at museums and historic sites, Preservation Maryland is proud to provide you with an on-demand video recording of the session and a PDF copy of the presentation as a free resource.



To fulfill one of their primary objective of education and interpretation, museums and historical societies embark to make their collections accessible and engaging to researchers and the public. Planning and adapting for outdoor accessibility, especially at sites with historic architecture and/or a diversity of terrain may prevent and discourage visitation. Marisa Allen of Quinn Evans Architects will open the session with a discussion of building accessibility provide examples from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to efficient measures that museums of all sizes and budgets can implement. Once inside, accessibility measures can include internal movement and exhibit experience. Michele Hartley is a Media Accessibility Coordinator with the National Park Service and provides consultation and resources to promote accessible and universally designed media across it’s parks and sites. Michele will give nuts-and-bolts examples of implementing accessible media design using NPS resources. Lastly, Dana Paterra from the Maryland Park Service will showcase the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and recent measures to provide an accessible and multi-sensory exhibit that enhances the opportunity for meaningful connections between Tubman’s story and everyone that visits the Center.



Marisa Allen, AIA, LEED AP
Quinn Evans Architects

Marisa is an Associate Architect at Quinn Evans Architects and is driven to work on projects that positively affect communities and has expertise in 21st century learning environments, visitor experience design, and sustainability. Marisa is adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland School of Architecture.


Michele Hartley
Media Accessibility Coordinator
Harpers Ferry Center, National Park Service

Michele provides consultation and resources to promote accessible and universally designed media in the National Park Service. Her past presentation venues include the U.S. Access Board, American Alliance of Museums, and the Kennedy Center’s LEAD Conference. She is a recipient of the Roger Kennedy Fellowship at The George Washington University.

Dana Paterra
Park Manager, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park
Maryland Park Service

Dana has nearly 20 years of experience interpreting natural and cultural resources as well as eight years of park operations and management experience for local, state, and federal government agencies. In August, 2014, Dana was selected as the Park Manager for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park.

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Meagan Baco · Director of Communications

Meagan Baco shares the stories of the Old Line State’s important history and unique places – and the people working to preserve it, through Preservation Maryland’s website and publications.

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