Providing better access is now easy, affordable, and it’s good business.
Museums, galleries, parks, zoos and other destinations
When you visit a museum or gallery, what you’re seeing with your eyes is only part of the story. It’s just as important to be able to hear the audio tour, to learn more about the display, the history and the artist. For the more than 3 million Australians who have hearing loss (expected to reach nearly 10 million by 2050), that information often isn’t accessible.
Activities like visiting the art gallery or museum with friends and family are social, sensory and ‘live’ experiences but thousands of Australians are missing out. Without access, education and social participation are limited.
The very information people previously missed out on is available in Auslan, captions, audio description and multiple languages on their own smart device.
The OpenAccess Tours app is one of a kind. There is rarely any high quality access to art galleries, zoos and other iconic locations. Thank you to Conexu for creating a free app with high quality contents for all Deaf and hard of hearing people to fully benefit.
- Sophie, art lover
It’s always a pleasure to work with Conexu… We’ve been working with Phil for several years and he is always so professional and responsive.
- Helen, Program Officer (Access), Queensland Art Gallery l Gallery of Modern Art
Since 2011, Conexu Foundation has been working with over thirty museums, galleries, parks and zoos to make their tours accessible through OpenAccess Tours. See our clients here.
We are a national non-profit organisation, and experts in both technology and communication access. It’s our whole focus. Learn more about Conexu Foundation.
Conexu believes communication barriers should never stop people from reaching their potential.
Our purpose is to use technology to bridge the communication divide between hard of hearing, Deaf or speech impaired Australians and the broader community.
In 2015, Conexu worked with Otago Museum / Larnarch castle in New Zealand to trial the Tours app technology abroad and showcase some sample translations at the Dunedin Museum Conference into New Zealand Sign Language and captions.
Again in May 2016, we worked with Museums Aotearoa at the Museums Australasia conference in Auckland, New Zealand. As a special conference feature, attendees were able to trial a sample of Aotea Centre’s artwork and audio material in New Zealand Sign Language with captions to show just how easy it is for arts experiences to be accessed by all
“[Being in New Zealand] …was a great opportunity to connect with deaf community leaders – as well as museum and cultural venue leaders at the conference – to introduce opportunities for a richer cultural experience for everyone.” – Phil Harper, Conexu Foundation
Sydney Town Hall was the first civic space to use OpenAccess Tours for accessible visitor content. The tour includes the story of the earliest record of a hearing impaired convict, Elizabeth Steel. The Deaf Society of New South Wales was established at this civic location in 1913.
In 2012, 30 deaf and hard of hearing visitors attended a group tour, along with Deaf Society of NSW to share a Saturday afternoon tour. Feedback from the day generated a lot of interest in technology access among older Australians with acquired hearing loss.
We received lots of positive feedback while testing this app. I look forward to more people learning about the history of this iconic building.
- Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney
Using this technology was a most intriguing and amazing moment for me. At 92 continuing learning is important to educating myself. I am forever thanking for that opportunity for the opportunity for the Deaf community.
- Nola, Deaf Sydneysider
The Sovereign Hill outdoor tour offers translations for live performances, as well as an interactive underground mining experience – The Secret Chamber tour. We worked with Sovereign Hill to produce an additional six creative accessible videos of their tours for Deaf and hard of hearing visitors to engage in cultural experiences of Australian pioneering history.
Sovereign Hill partnered with Conexu to deliver Auslan and captioned interpretation of our outdoor museum for Deaf and hearing-impaired visitors… an underground mine tour followed by videos for the iconic gold-pour demonstration, an introduction to our outdoor museum, and four popular attractions - candle making, gold panning, the Redcoats parade and sweet making.
- Brett, Museums Director, Sovereign Hill Museums
In partnership with Victorian Deaf Education Institute (VDEI) and Werribee Open Range Zoo, OpenAccess Tours was turned into an outdoor tool for school groups.
We introduced the geo-location features and the ability to trigger content with the existing guides, to ensure outdoor tours could be accessible. The tour was featured on popular children’s television programs, such as Channel 10’s Scope, ABC3Kids, and was the feature story for Channel 7 in Melbourne. iAuslan again produced a film about OpenAccess Tours featuring this venue, extending the reach of the service further through the Deaf community.
OpenAccess Tours enables students with hearing loss to have the same experience as other students. It engages students in a way they’ve never been engaged before.
- Michelle, Education Officer at Werribee Open Range Zoo
National Sports Museum (NSM) was our flagship venue for introducing OpenAccess Tours to the Deaf and hard of hearing community in 2012. The launch event raised the profile of this new access option through national media channels including SBS World News, ITwire online, travel and accessible arts publications and Deaf industry publications.
Since then, we’ve also provided additional access for the special exhibition “Australians at the Deaflympics”, a cultural celebration of the achievements of Deaf Australian sports men and women. We worked with iAuslan, a Melbourne-based Deaf film company, to share the community’s experiences with OpenAccess Tours.
We heard Conexu was looking for a partner to introduce this wonderful concept, and we already had an audio tour which gives you many more words in an easily absorbed way. OpenAccess Tours will give similar richness of additional information.
- Margaret, General Manager Heritage and Tourism, National Sports Museum
Coming to National Sports Museum when I was a boy - I could read a bit of the text, and imagine the story. But now I can enjoy it in my native language, and I think that’s fantastic.
- Brent, President of Deaf Sports Australia
Since 2011 we’ve worked with Australia’s most visited art gallery, National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), to deliver a mix of Auslan, captions, audio description and foreign language translation, as well as captions for creative videos and artist interviews. Five successive Melbourne Winter Masterpieces programs were made accessible to all through the OpenAccess Tours app, the Gallery’s loan devices and their website, several major international exhibitions.
In 2013, NGV won a Creative Victoria Award for Leadership in Disability Access for an access event where OpenAccess Tours was provided as a self-guided option. For the 2016 world premiere of the Andy Warhol/Ai Weiwei exhibition, we worked with Arts Access Victoria and NGV on an Australian first sell-out Deaf-led group tour for Auslan users.
We had a lot of really positive feedback for OpenAccess Tours at Napoleon so we really look forward to the same for Monet.
- Jean-Pierre , 2013 Head of Multimedia, National Gallery of Victoria
I would like to share my feedback based on my experience at Wei Wei & Warhol exhibition at NGV on 23rd April 2016. It was a wonderful experience to have Auslan tour led by Luke King who is deaf himself. It’s nice to have access to first-hand information in Auslan rather than via Auslan interpreter if it was led by hearing person. It would be great if there are more similar tours led by deaf people themselves and I would like to say Luke did awesome job that day.
Answers to frequently asked questions.
Contact Phil today to discuss your options. Phone 04 3460 3497 (SMS preferred) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Most visitors will have their own device in their pocket! There’s no need to purchase devices, or be locked into equipment, though some venues prefer to purchase a group of devices ready to go available for their visitors to hire, which we can arrange for you.
Our technical support team has over 20 years’ experience in implementing accessible technology solutions. No matter what size venue you are you’ll have a dedicated account manager who can help you troubleshoot.
Having your venue accessible is very affordable – in fact because we have built on widely available iOS and Android technology and send you content translation files, you'll find the cost is nowhere near the price having specialty equipment – or being locked into contracts.
The process is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Once you’re happy with the quote, our dedicated account manager will work with you to decide on your exhibition and content options, you pass us the content, we will start working on the translation, and then we’ll let you know once its all ready! It’s that simple. Our clients say we take the hassle out of access– read more here.
Using our app