Project A.L.I.C.E. is a project by Harvard Art Museums.
Over the course of the 2017-2018 academic year, the Division of Academic and Public Programs and the Department of Infrastructure and Emerging Technologies worked closely together to collaborate with an undergraduate student to pilot a new approach to visual descriptions. These visual descriptions, and the resulting audio guide, were created primarily with the goal of increasing the accessibility of our collections and building for museum visitors who are blind or have low-vision, but add a new perspective and way of seeing key objects in our collection for all.
Project ALICE takes at its heart the idea that design for one can be design for all. We asked our undergraduate collaborator – who herself has low-vision – to consider what we could design that would make our collection more accessible for her. From this, a rich set of guidelines and best practices for visual descriptions followed. Written and recorded by individual staff members from across the museums, these narratives offer not just descriptions of the objects, but also explorations of their physical qualities and appearance, unique histories, open questions, and behind-the-scenes information beyond what is accessible through the label. Spread throughout the galleries on the first three floors of the museums, these objects and their descriptions can serve as jumping-off points for further exploration of all the Harvard Art Museums have to offer for visitors of all abilities, interests and backgrounds.
The acronym A.L.I.C.E. stands for the Advanced Listening Interface for Curious Earthlings.