Improving the accessibility of information and communication in the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts


The project stems from the common concern of members of the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), researchers and clinicians to increase participation and inclusion of individuals with communication limitations in an environment such as the MMFA. Due to difficulties in communicating verbally and retaining information, and due to accompanying potential cognitive and physical limitations, persons with aphasia typically have difficulties understanding long and complex explanatory texts, posing questions, interacting with others, etc. Obstacles such as these may otherwise detract from this population’s experience, may exclude them from certain exhibits or facilities, and may cause anxiety and confusion, resulting in a growing number of community members choosing to not visit the MMFA or other cultural centres. Our team comprising researchers, museum personnel, a clinician and a student assistant will work together with up to15 people with aphasia and their caregivers to identify real-world obstacles as they experience a walk-through of the MMFA. The immediate results of the study are anticipated to provide specific recommendations, leading to precise and customized modifications and transformations at the MMFA.


  1. To understand the experience and identifying the challenges experienced by the group of persons with communication difficulties and their caregivers as they participate in a walk-through of the MMFA.
  2. To study from a linguistic/psycholinguistic perspective the written materials accompanying the exhibits and other pamphlets and guides in order to identify areas that can be improved so that they can become more accessible to people with language and communication difficulties.
  3. Following an iterative process, to propose, verify, and adjust concrete modifications.


  1. Preparation: Pre-walk through meetings. Decide on walk-through trajectories. Finalize questionnaires and walk-through procedure
  2. Walk-through the museum
  3. Data analysis: Qualitative analysis of notes taken during the briefing session and the walk-through, comments expressed by the participants and audio recordings. Presentation of report and of the written text modification process and basic principles
  4. Text modification phase: Text simplification and creation of visually accessible materials and guides
  5. Verification of solutions: Test solution-taking measures and modifications and implement adjustments
  6. Outcome and deliverables: Open house to showcase steps toward improving accessibility and inclusion. Dissemination of results and solutions. Write up results for media release, and submission to scientific conferences and journals.

Last update : January 20, 2021

Global progress
2- Preparation
2- Walk-through the museum
3- Data analysis
4- Text modification phase
5- Verification of solutions
6- Outcome and deliverables
Team members
  • Eva Kehayia, principal investigator | Professor, McGill University, CRIR
  • Gonia Jarema, principal investigator | Professor, Université de Montréal, CRIR
  • Christie Brien, co-investigator | Post-doctoral fellow, McGill University
  • Tiiu Poldma, co-investigator | Professor, Université de Montréal, CRIR
  • Christine Alary-Gauvreau, collaborator | Speech Therapist and Ph.D. Student, Université de Montréal, CRIR
  • Louise Giroux, principal partner | Responsable des programmes éducatifs – Mieux-Être, Éducation et Mieux-Être, MBAM
Intersectoral collaboration agent
Scientific sectors
Innovation stages
  • Émergence, Expérimentation
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