Archives, Accessibility, and our Website

Screen captures of webpages from the List Center's exhibtion archive laid out in a collage slightly tilted to the right.

Renderings of the List Center’s Exhibition Archive. Courtesy of Moth Design. 

In May, the List Center unveiled a new website housing a robust digital archive with materials dating back to our opening in 1985 and designed with the best practices in web accessibility for the visual arts. This project would not have been possible if not for MIT’s support of our staff during campus closures, which allowed us to redirect our gallery staff’s roles to include working on organizing archival material for the new website. 

When we began this process in the fall of 2020, we considered how our values could be reflected through our website and serve audiences across the globe. The word “artist-centric” entered nearly every conversation. This priority is best exemplified by the addition of our Exhibiting Artist Index where you can browse over 800 artists the List Center has presented since its founding in 1985. Along with the Index, viewers can explore an Exhibition Archive which holds newly digitized photographs, videos, educational texts, and other related media dating back to the List Center’s earliest years. 

As we did this work, web accessibility was considered every step of the way. In addition to utilizing the highest standards in accessible web design, we are pleased to share that our new website includes descriptive, screen-reader enabled alt-texts for every archival image written by members of the List Center team. This resource is a feat among our museum peers that will make our archives more accessible to viewers with a range of vision abilities.