Pennsylvania Historic Sites Launch New Project to Increase Access for Visitors with Loss of Vision

This summer, visitors to some Pennsylvania historic sites who are blind or have low vision will be able to experience the sites in a new way.

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission announced a project to contract with Aira, a service that connects people with low vision to a trained agent for visual information, to increase accessibility to the state’s historic sites. Visitors to the sites will be able to access Aira for free either through a smartphone app or through Aira smart glasses. The technology connects them to an agent who, from a remote location, can see what is near the user, provide description, and help them navigate the museum.

Six PA historical sites will initially offer the service: Erie Maritime Museum, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania Military Museum, Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, and the State Museum of Pennsylvania. All the sites are a part of the Pennsylvania Trails of History. If the project is successful and funding is available, the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission plans to expand the project to its other sites.