Accessibility Guide: Environment

MDOL provides a variety of workshops both at our facilities and outside facilities for a variety of our participants. In the field we have less control over environmental issues than we do when offering workshops at Career Centers or other MDOL sites. When planning a workshop, training or event, be prepared from the beginning.

Choosing a Site:

  • Accessible parking should be available
  • Path from parking area to building should be a minimum of 36 inches wide
  • The site should have a wheel chair accessible public entrance and restrooms
  • Facility should be on the State list of accessible venues.

The Room:

  • The room should be on the first floor or a floor served by an elevator
  • Close doors and windows to minimize distractions and noise
  • Set up tables and chairs so that those using wheelchairs or other mobility devices can enter the room and find a place without the need to move furniture or equipment (minimum of 36 inch wide maneuvering clearance)
  • Tables should be high enough to accommodate a wheel chair (minimum height of 28 inches knee space)
  • Arrange display or screens at far end of room, away from windows and out of direct sunlight
  • Keep room at a comfortable temperature without using portable fans or heaters, which make it difficult to hear
  • Ensure cord and easels are not tripping hazards in walkways


  • Lighting should be bright enough for people to navigate the space
  • When projecting images or presentations, dim only the area over the screen
  • Interpreters, if used, should be situated where the lighting is adequate


  • Provide mats on rainy or snowy days to keep the floors as dry as possible. Make sure that mats don’t bunch up
  • If special assistance is needed or knowledge is needed to enter, provide staff and signage where appropriate


  • Is the main entrance accessible by wheelchair?
  • Are routes to the room 36 inches wide or wider outside?
  • Inside, are the corridors and aisles at least 36 inches wide?
    • If not, is there signage indicating location of nearest accessible entrance?
    • Can it be used independently?
  • Is an auxiliary sound system available or outlets for equipment such as FM-listening equipment?
  • Are table tops or counters minimum 28 inches clearance beneath?
  • Is there an accessible bathroom available?
    • If not, is there signage indicating the location of the accessible bathr

Last Minute options:

  • Move tables and chairs to allow individual access to the room
  • Use blocks of wood or paper to raise table to accommodate a wheelchair (be sure it’s stable)
  • Change location

References / More information:

Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrator's Handbook National Endowment for the Arts

Planning and Resource Guide for Cultural Administrators html or (Planning and Resource Guide for Cultural Administrators pdf version) National Endowment for the Arts

ADA Standards for Accessible Design US Department of Justice

Arts Accessibility Introduction and Self-Assessment Maine Arts Commission


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