State News

July 9, 2013

Museum denies entry because of wheelchair

SAVANNAH — A Charlotte, N.C. couple said their 11-year-old daughter was told she couldn’t use her wheelchair at a Savannah museum because it would get the carpet dirty.

Stephen Haas told WTOC-TV (http://bit.ly/12n6KWk) a woman at the front desk of the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum told him and his wife their daughter, Lexi, could instead use a museum-owned wheelchair, or watch television while the rest of the family walked through the exhibits Sunday.

Lexi, who is unable to sit up on her own, was unable to use the museum’s wheelchair because it was not equipped with straps needed to secure her.

Museum curator Wendy Melton said the employee misunderstood the museum’s policy on wheelchair use and the museum’s director is writing a letter of apology to the family.

The museum is housed in a historic home and doesn’t have an elevator or a lift because of conflicts between city regulations and rules from the Department of the Interior on historic sites, according to a statement on the museum’s website. The museum does offer free admission to people with disabilities and a guest, and officials say additional accommodations can be made for disabled visitors if they give prior notice.  

Haas said his family doesn’t plan to file any formal complaint against the museum.

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Information from: WTOC-TV, http://www.wtoctv.com/

 

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