New York State is home to thousands of incredible attractions that satisfy any interest, and many have accessibility features for visitors with disabilities. Here are nine attractions that offer programs specifically designed for travelers who are Deaf or have a hearing loss.
Note: due to the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry, some of these programs may be temporarily unavailable and venues may be closed. Please check directly with individual attractions for updates before making plans. By Executive Order, all visitors over the age of two, and able to medically tolerate one, are required to wear a mask or face covering when social distancing is not possible at any location in New York State. Individual attractions may have additional safety measures and guest requirements.
Credit: RIT/NTID Dyer Arts Center
Home to a large deaf population and the cutting edge National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester has plenty to offer Deaf visitors. One of the centers of Deaf culture, the Dyer Arts Center at NTID is a state-of-the-art gallery that showcases the work of nationally and internationally renowned Deaf and hard of hearing artists, and allies of the Deaf community. In addition to its impressive permanent collection, Dyer hosts events and special exhibitions such as Motion:Art, a collection of experimental short films, motion graphics, animations, and different types of moving images. Motion:Art is presented in partnership with the Deaf Rochester Film Festival, which since 2005 has celebrated the Deaf experience and culture with movies from around the world created by and featuring Deaf and hard of hearing media artists, filmmakers, and film production companies.
A photography and film lover’s paradise, the George Eastman Museum in Rochester offers extensive programming to help visitors who are Deaf or who have a hearing loss enjoy the full museum experience and programs/special events. ASL tours are offered monthly, but visitors can access text versions of the mansion tour transcript both on the museum’s mobile website and through printed transcripts any day the museum is open, and interpretive videos have closed captioning. Private tours in ASL or sign language interpretation for any program may also be arranged in advance by contacting email@example.com or by calling 585-327-4838 (please put in requests at least two weeks in advance of the event).
Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester (Finger Lakes)
The Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester features 5,000 years of art history on a 14-acre campus. Visitors can make an advance request for ASL interpretation for any of the classes, talks, or lectures on offer by contacting Academic Programs Assistant Chelsea Anderson by phone at 585-276-8971. Visitors to the MAG Auditorium can also make use of an “induction loop” assistive listening system.
National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House (Finger Lakes)
It was at her Rochester home that legendary civil rights leader Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting while being female in 1872. Today, visitors can learn all about the life and times of this Women’s Rights pioneer through docent-guided English language and ASL interpreted tours. ASL tours are available on select Sundays at 1 pm and advanced reservations are required. For reservations and additional information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 585-235-6124 ext. 1.
Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Lessons at Gore Mountain (Adirondacks)
Get ready to hit the powder! Gore Mountain offers adaptive one-on-one ski and snowboard lessons with staff trained to coach visitors who are or who have a hearing loss at all ability levels, from snow bunnies to serious athletes. Reservations are required so you can be matched with the best instructor and lesson for your needs.
Whitney Signs Tours at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York City)
Home to one of the most impressive collections of modern art in the world, the Whitney Museum of American Art (pictured, at center) employs an expert Deaf educator to lead monthly ASL tours. As a bonus, ASL tours also come with a free wine and cheese reception. Voice interpretation on ASL tours is available upon request. Please contact the Whitney at email@example.com or (646) 666-5574 (voice) to register in advance of your visit. With three weeks' notice, you can even request a private tour in ASL. While the Whitney is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum’s website offers excellent virtual ASL Vlogs featuring Tony-nominated actress and art educator Lauren Ridloff.
Explore New York City in ASL with a Big Apple Greeter (New York City)
One of the best ways to experience New York City is through its neighborhoods. Visitors who sign up for an ASL tour through the Big Apple Greeter’s Access Program will be matched with an ASL-fluent volunteer for a free walking tour of some of New York City’s most iconic neighborhoods. These volunteers are New York City locals with a passion for showing off the best the city has to offer to new friends. Visitors interested in being matched with a Greeter should submit a request at least four weeks in advance of their trip.
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (Long Island)
Known as the “Summer White House,” Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay on the North Shore of Long Island was the home of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, from 1885 until his death in 1919. ASL interpretation services are available, provided they are requested three days in advance by email. The Visitor Center also offers transcripts of the park’s self-guided audio tour.
Laugh Out Loud at the National Comedy Center (Chautauqua-Allegheny)
Everyone loves to laugh! The National Comedy Center ensures that comedy fans of all abilities get the joke thanks to industry-leading features like open captions on all video media on display, including the Hologram Theater (on request: just ask a staff member to turn them on before entering the theater). Transcripts are also available for audio-only experiences. Visitors can request an American Sign Language interpreter or real-time captioning for any public program or event with three-weeks notice. To place a request, please contact us at 716-484-2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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