Accessing the Past: Accessibility in Historic Buildings and Facilities

Thursday, November 3, 2022
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern Time Zone


Historic buildings and facilities provide rich histories to learn about the past and help give a sense of place to people, including those with disabilities. This webinar session will provide an overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) accessibility requirements for historic buildings and facilities. The presenters will review ADA and ABA technical requirements and exemptions, best design practices, and recommendations for making historic sites and facilities accessible. Additionally, National Park Service staff will discuss agency approaches to providing facility and programmatic accessibility to a range historic buildings and facilities. This webinar will include video remote interpreting (VRI) and real-time captioning. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits.

Continuing Education Recognition Available

Certificate Credit hours
California Architects Board 1.5
Certificate of Attendance 1.5
ICC 1.5
LA CES 1.5


Ray Bloomer, Accessibility Specialist , WASO, Accessibility Support Program, National Park Service

Bill Botten, Training Coordinator, Senior Accessibility Specialist, Office of Technical and Information Services, U.S. Access Board

Questions for presenters:

1 To what extent must a "historic house museum" (which is a house on the national registry of historic houses and open to the public (with docent led tours) as a museum) make the experience accessible if they cannot make either part or all of the building accessible to visitors with disabilities. I am wondering if it is required for such house museums to design a virtual tour for individuals with mobility issues, and if there are further requirements for providing visitors with vision and/or hearing issues tour services that make their experiences both safe and engaging/informative. Thank you for your thoughts on these matters.
2 Please, compare different types of interventions, when is a conservation project versus when is an alteration project. Are there any differences in the application of the ADA Design Standards?
3 Do we rely on the judgement call from the official historic board staff on what we can or cannot do on a historically significant or registered building? That means if they only want designers to provide an accessible entrance at the back of a building, for example, then will the acceptable solution for the required accommodation? Thank you.
4 We are rehabilitating and renovating an historic federal building. How to we balance the need to preserve and rehabilitate the building and its original features (such as standard doorknobs) and ADA requirements and accessibility concerns (upgrading doors to become accessible)?

Session Questions

This session is accepting questions from registered users. After you have registered to participate in this session you can submit your questions on your Account Manager page. Please note: the number of questions will be limited and submissions will be closed well before the session starts to provide time to prepare answers.

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