The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits exclusion of people with disabilities from everyday activities including leisure activities. It extends accessibility provisions to both the public and private sectors. The ADA guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications by requiring businesses of all sizes that serve the public to remove existing barriers that are readily achievable, to ensure accessibility in new and remodeled facilities, and to facilitate effective communication by providing auxiliary aids.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits recipients of federal funding from discriminating against people with disabilities in their hiring and contracting practices (Sections 501 and 503), facilities (Section 502), and programs (Section 504). Section 504 is most relevant to museums as it mandates access for people with disabilities to federally assisted programs and services. This includes programs that receive funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Endowment for the Arts, or the National Endowment for the Humanities. The NSF, along with each of the other federal grant making agencies, has its own Section 504 regulations covering its grant recipients.
Standards are generally accepted levels that all museums are expected to achieve. (This includes a fact sheet that compiles ethics codes, standards, and best practices that are specific to museums as well as those that have been developed outside the profession but are applicable.)
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification system. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in March 2000, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.