Professional Development

MACA offers quarterly professional development workshops addressing different topics within the field of accessibility. MACA’s workshops are designed for professionals of cultural institutions, but all are welcome to attend. MACA’s workshops are free.

If you have an idea for a professional development workshop or can offer an opportunity to observe an accessibility program at your institution, please contact us at


Stay tuned for workshops coming in 2020!


Engaging a Spectrum: A Workshop for Cultural Institutions Welcoming People with Autism

Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 9:30-11:30 am
Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202

Attendees learned best practices for welcoming and engaging the autism community at their institutions. Autism expert, Dr. Sally Burton-Hoyle (Eastern Michigan University), provided attendees with a working knowledge of autism spectrum disorder along with accessibility and communication tips. Ashley Grady (Access Smithsonian, Smithsonian Institution) joined us virtually to talk about sensory-friendly programming, such as “Morning at the Museum,” and other autism initiatives at the various Smithsonian museums.  “Lightning presentations” on autism initiatives at the Arab American National Museum, Eastern Michigan University, Potter Park Zoo, Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, Bloomfield Township Public Library, and The Henry Ford were shared in the second half of the workshop.

Institutional Accessibility Visioning

Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 9:30-11:00 am
Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202

A panel of cultural institution administrators shared their experiences successfully implementing accessibility initiatives at their institutions. Panelists also helped attendees work on collective talking points to take back to their institutions. Panelists included:

  • Amy Harris, Director, University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

  • AmyLouise Liedel, Senior Director of Guest Operations, The Henry Ford 

  • Emily O'Hara, Curator of Exhibit Design, Detroit Zoological Society 

  • Kelly Stuible-Clark, Manager of Musical Theatre Programs, Wharton Center for Performing Arts 

Accessibility Chat: A Conversation with Disability Self-Advocates and Caregivers

Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 2:30-4:00 pm
Bloomfield Township Public Library, 1099 Lone Pine Rd., Bloomfield Township, MI 48302

Attendees gained perspective from individuals with disabilities and their caregivers, as panelists shared experiences at cultural institutions and thoughts on how cultural institutions can go beyond ADA to enhance accessibility. Panelists included:

  • Deb Belavek, deaf self-advocate and director of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing programs at Bloomfield Hills Schools

  • Cary Supalo, blind chemist, Research Developer at Educational Testing Service in Princeton, NJ

  • David and Jane Cowan, dementia self-advocate and his wife/care partner

  • Gary Koutsoubos, father of 4 year old with Down syndrome and President of the Down Syndrome Guild of Southeast Michigan

  • Gavin Swantick, autism self-advocate and recent Master's graduate from Wayne State University

  • Michelle Justice, mother of a teenager with autism

  • Rebecca Anders, mother of 4th grader with autism and Supervisor of Special Education at the Wing Lake Developmental Center

Introduction to Universal Design for Learning

Wednesday, October 10, 2018, 9:30-11:00 am
The Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124

Attendees received an introduction to Universal Design for Learning and gained an understanding of how to use it to improve learning. This program was presented by LaTonya Motley, Learning Design and Accessibility Specialist at Michigan State University.

Opportunity to Observe: Community Connect Dementia Program

Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 1:30-3:00 pm
The Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124

Attendees observed a program for people living with dementia and their care partners that was organized in collaboration between The Henry Ford, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Michigan Chapter and had an opportunity to learn more about developing programs for individuals living with dementia.