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Accessible Artwork at the NGA #1

Last updated on August 15, 2021

National Gallery of Art

The free National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, DC, USA has hundreds of works of art that have audio descriptions and many of these are available in 6 languages. More than 60 of their artworks also have video descriptions in ASL (American Sign Language). I encourage you to visit the NGA in person or virtually so you can experience these highly engaging audio & video descriptions that make artists and their work truly come alive!

Adding NaviLens tags next to artwork can help access these resources.

As an example, the NGA owns Winslow Homer’s “Breezing Up (A Fair Wind)”. It has audio descriptions in six languages (English, French, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, and Spanish). It also has an ASL video and a children’s video available for it. These can be accessed through NGA’s website but
NaviLens and NaviLens GO make it much easier to do this. NaviLens can also translate descriptions of artwork into a total of 33 languages*.

NaviLens for Museums!

NaviLens now has a site dedicated to showing how NaviLens technology can enhance the accessibility of museums. See NaviLens for Museums.

Try it!

1. Scan the tag shown above using NaviLens.

You’ll hear a brief overview about the artist and the painting. You’ll hear “Listen to a longer audio description by Curator Nikolai Cikovsky, Jr on SoundCloud” and then “Contains a hyperlink”. To follow this hyperlink you simply need to tap on NaviLens, scroll down to the hyperlink, and tap on it. The link will open in SoundCloud. Here you can listen to the curator speak for about 2 minutes in English or another language.

BTW – I used the NGA Related Content page for “Breezing Up” to get all of the links needed. I added these to this public tag using the NaviLens cloud.

2. Scan the tag above using NaviLens GO.

Try this if you have some vision and/or speak ASL. It will give you access to more information about this artwork, additional links on the NGA website, etc.

If you speak or are learning ASL, then tap the Settings icon in NaviLens GO (blue gear), select Sign language (under Preferred Content), and scan the tag again. Now you should experience the same ASL video, a description of the painting “Breezing Up (A Fair Wind)”, that is also below.

You can also change Preferred Content in NaviLens GO to Easy Reading for text and Content for Kids. For this painting choosing Content for Kids and rescanning the tag will play an engaging video the NGA created for children that has translatable closed captions.

BTW – In NaviLens GO Settings you can also change the font size and the speaking speed to meet your needs if you are able to access text and/or audio.

Want to relive your experience with NaviLens or share it with someone else?

Use the history feature built into both NaviLens and NaviLens GO. In NaviLens GO – go to Settings. Then scroll down to the bottom where you’ll find History. Tap on it and then select any of the tags you’ve previously scanned to experience its information again.

Downloadable (and printable!) PDF below of Google Doc: NaviLens Enabled Accessible Artwork: NGA Example 1


Coming soon:

  1. YouTube video with closed captions demonstrating NaviLens and NaviLens GO.
  2. More tags for artworks at the NGA. I found 3 more whose images are in the public domain that have descriptions in ASL and other languages besides English.
  3. A wayfinding demo to show how NaviLens and NaviLens go can be used to help visitors to the NGA find their way around.

* 33 Languages supported by NaviLens (using Google Translate):

Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian Bokmal (Written), Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.

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