YSU student pioneers accessibility: AR tour revolutionizes YHCIL experience

With the help of a student from Youngstown State University’s Beeghly College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences and Education, the Youngstown Historical Center for Industry and Labor has implemented an augmented reality virtual tour to foster inclusion for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

Jennifer Moats, a graduate student in American Studies, developed the tour under the supervision of History Professor Brian Bonhomme for her independent project.

The tour includes sign language videos, visuals and written descriptions, enhanced with augmented reality and web-based videos, allowing personalized, self-paced exploration of the museum.

Through this project, Moats and the YHCIL aim to reshape the barriers to accessibility in cultural establishments and create a more welcoming environment for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

The “Steel Museum,” which opened in 1992, documents the rise and fall of the steel industry in Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. Exhibits combine artifacts, videotaped interviews and full-scale recreations of the places where steelworkers lived and worked, in a tribute to the men and women who forged a way of life from iron and steel for almost two centuries. The museum is operated by Ohio History Connection and managed by the History Program at YSU.