Recreation & Culture

MOPD Virtual Activities Toolkit

This is a guide for people with disabilities on accessible things to do from home. It contains activities such as virtual events, museum tours, workouts, performances, podcasts and more. Some of the events are live on platforms such as Zoom or Google Meet, or through phone conferences. Others are recorded and can be experienced at any time. The majority of programs featured on this list are free while others have fees but use a sliding scale to accommodate attendees of all income levels.

Note: The City of New York does not endorse any programs or events highlighted in this guide.

Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.

Tech, Advocacy and Education

Our History - Gaining Access (Virtual Gallery):

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities has assembled and digitized a virtual exhibit on the disability rights movement. This virtual gallery is based on the first museum exhibition about the New York City Disability Rights Movement presented at the Brooklyn Historical Society on July 1, 2015 in honor of the 25th anniversary of the ADA and curated by Warren Shaw.
Our History Virtual Exhibit

Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library (Live)

The Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library is offering one-on-one tech coaching, a weekly Braille study group, virtual visits where your class or company team can learn about accessible technology, virtual tactile graphics design lessons and a range of online gatherings including tech workshops and book groups.

Email heiskelltech-subscribe@googlegroups.com if you would like to receive announcements about upcoming activities.

To arrange one-on-one coaching, suggest a workshop, volunteer your time or learn more about the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Tech Team, please email chanceyfleet@nypl.org or call them at 212-621-0627.

American Foundation for the Blind

AFB Virtual Conference (Live/Recorded):

The American Foundation for the Blind has moved their annual conference to virtual space. This conference features sessions on remote learning, inclusive remote working, assistive technology and more. Sessions are live and then archived for you to listen at your convenience. All sessions are audio described and captioned.
AFB Virtual Conference page.

AFB Hellen Keller Virtual Archive (Virtual gallery):

You can explore the first ever fully accessible Digital Helen Keller Archive — the world's largest repository of letters, speeches, press clippings, scrapbooks, photographs, architectural drawings, artifacts and audio-video materials relating to Helen Keller.
Keller was a feminist, a suffragist, a social activist, and a pacifist, as well as a prolific writer and published author. May she continue to serve as an example to us all.
Hellen Keller Virtual Archive

Museums and Art

Below is a selection of live and recorded museum tours. Live events are held on virtual platforms or on phone conferences. Recorded content can be accessed on the museum website or on platforms such as Sound Cloud.

"The Journey" (Virtual Gallery):

In honor of the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities is proud to present "The Journey" a virtual exhibition of artists with disabilities. We received over 100 submissions of which we selected our favorite 30 submissions for the exhibition. Special thank you to our panel of judges from YAI Arts and Culture, The Met, Positive Exposure, Fountain House, Shield Institute and The League Center.
“The Journey” Virtual Gallery

Poster House Remote Verbal Description Tours (Live):

Every month, Poster House offers Remote Vibrant Verbal Description Tours specifically for the low vision and blind community. Explore one of the museum's shows with our Chief Curator who is trained in the art of verbal description, and learn more about the history of printed posters.

Please email access@posterhouse.org or call 917-722-2439 x413 to sign up for these events. You will be emailed poster images for reference as well as information about accessing the teleconference the morning of the virtual tour. Tours start promptly and will last approximately 90 minutes with questions.

Park McArthur Fantasies Exhibit Essex Street (Virtual Gallery):

Park McArthur is a disabled artist that makes work that often responds to the institutional and architectural context of exhibition spaces. Park’s work is available on the Essex Street Gallery website as videos with audio description and captions as well as images with alt-text.
Park McArthur Exhibition Page
Audio Described and Captioned Videos of Park McArthur’s Exhibition
Images with Alt-text of Park McArthur’s Exhibition

Smithsonian Museum’s Audio Description of Presidential Portraits (Recorded)

The Portrait Gallery has developed audio descriptions of select portraits from our signature exhibition, “America’s Presidents.” Designed for people who are blind or have low vision, these descriptions use precise, evocative language to convey the visual appearance of art, and are equally valuable for sighted visitors seeking closer observation. We will continue to add to this list over time.
Audio Description of Presidential Portraits

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Live)

The Met will be holding tours for visitors who are blind or partially sighted, visitors with dementia and visitors with developmental disabilities and those on the autism spectrum. The programs are held live on virtual platforms. To find the next scheduled program visit the Met Access page. You can also checkout the Met Access Facebook page for more content.

The Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Verbal Description Tours (Live)

The Access department at the Guggenheim Museum has a series of upcoming virtual verbal description tours for folks who are blind or have low vision.
Email: access@guggenheim.org
Voice Phone: 212-360-4355.
Guggenheim Website

Guggenheim Online Verbal Descriptions from the Thannhauser Collection (Recorded)

The Guggenheim has a Verbal Description audio guide of select works from the Thannhauser Collection on Guggenheim.org and SoundCloud. Designed for people who are blind or have low vision, Verbal Description uses precise, evocative language to convey the visual appearance of art, which is equally valuable for sighted visitors seeking closer observation of works of art. The Thannhauser guide includes descriptions, contextual information for key artworks from the Collection, a history of the collection and a description of the gallery space that holds it. The audio is freely available to stream from home.
Verbal Description for the Guggenheim Thannhauser Collection

The Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney Museum Verbal Description Calls (Live)

The Access and Community Programs department at the Whitney holds verbal description tours over phone conferences once a month.
Voice Phone: 646-666-5574
Email: accessfeedback@whitney.org
Whitney Access Programs Page

The Whitney Museum of American Art Audio Guides and ASL Videos (Recorded)

The Whitney Museum has online audio guides and videos in American Sign Language featuring insights from artists, curators, and other notable experts. With guides available for kids, videos in ASL, accessible transcripts, and Spanish translations, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Whitney Museum Audio Guides
Whitney Museum ASL Information

New York City Parks (Virtual gallery)

NYC Parks Public Art Map (Virtual gallery)

New York City Parks has created a map of public art installations across NYC. The map has been enhanced for accessibility and parts of the collection have detailed descriptions of the art as well as rich historical facts.
NYC Public Art Map

NYC Parks Disability Awareness Online Exhibition (Virtual gallery)

The Poe Park Visitor Center proudly presents a Disability Awareness Virtual Exhibition. The exhibition features moving, powerful, and thought-provoking works from emerging and established artists living with physical, mental, neurological, and/or emotional conditions. All works of art featured in this virtual exhibition are described for blind visitors using alt-text.
NYC Parks Disability Awareness Virtual Exhibition

Deaf NYC List of ASL Tours (Live)

Deaf NYC has a list of ASL events and museum tours in ASL that is regularly updated.
Deaf NYC All Events webpage

Performances and Podcasts

Below is a selection of recorded performances and podcasts. It includes audio productions made for radio, theater performances that were recorded live as well as disability talk shows. They are available on the publisher's website or on popular podcast platforms.

BBC America’s Criptales:

Streaming for free on AMC for the month of October, Criptales are six episodes featuring monologues of people with disabilities. Each film is a fictional monologue capturing a life-changing moment for a person with disabilities, based on factual research and lived experience and spanning the last 50 years of British history. The films cover a variety of experiences, from an actor (played by Matt Fraser) in the present day waiting to go into an audition and dreading how it will be, to a young woman in 1968 (played by Ruth Madeley; Years and Years, BBC America’s The Watch) contemplating the future of her pregnancy." The episodes are free to stream on the AMC website. No account or login is required to view. Note: audio description is not available for the episodes. However, the episodes are monologues and  need little describing.
Criptales Streaming on AMC

Daniel's Music Foundation Virtual Community (Live/recorded)

Daniel's Music Foundation (DMF) Virtual Live Events are a way to keep us all connected through music, regardless of where we are or what's happening in the world. We offer a variety of events, for all ages and abilities. New events are added constantly, so stop by often and sign up to attend. We invite you to explore all of our events and look forward to having you join us online. And if you miss an event, it will be recorded and available. Both live and recorded events can be found on the DMF virtual community page.
DMF Virtual Community page

Music for Autism Virtual Concerts (Recorded)

Music for Autism is enhancing quality of life and raising public awareness through autism-friendly, interactive concerts developed specifically for individuals with autism and their families. The concerts feature professional musicians, including Tony Award winners, Grammy-nominated classical artists, and Pulitzer Prize winners. Welcome to our virtual concerts! Five performances are available on the Music for Autism YouTube Channel.
Music for Autism YouTube Channel

Alvin Ailey's Revelations with Audio Description

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has audio described Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece, 'Revelations.' It is available on their YouTube Channel for a limited time. The piece pays homage to and reflects African-American cultural heritage, which Ailey considered one of America’s richest treasures – "sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jubilant, but always hopeful."
Alvin Ailey's Revelations Audio described on Youtube

WNYC Shakespeare's Richard II Radio Dramatization (Recorded)

In July of 2020, WNYC In Collaboration with The Public Theater aired Shakespeare's Richard II on the Radio. Saheem Ali directed this radio adaptation of Richard II, the Bard's take on how the title monarch lost his crown. André Holland (Moonlight) stars, and the supporting cast includes Oscar winner Estelle Parsons, Tony winner Phylicia Rashad and Tony nominee John Douglas Thompson. Audio recordings of the production are available as four podcast episodes on the WNYC website.
Richard II on WNYC

Podcasts about NYC (Recorded)

NYC Go has created a website called Virtual NYC where folks can enjoy NYC attractions from home. The list can be filtered by podcasts. Topics include audio dramas, dance, comedy, script readings and public art.
NYC Go List of Podcasts

Theatre Development Fund (Recorded)

TDF has put together a page of sources where people can listen to audio dramas. This includes performances on Audible Theatre, LA Theatre works and many podcasts available on your favorite podcast platform.
Theatre Development Fund Audio Plays

At the Table - A Play Reading Series (Recorded)

This audio theatre series features new 10 to 20-minute plays by emerging playwrights starring New York stage vets such as Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen) and Alyssa May Gold (How I Learned to Drive). Interviews with the artists are also available. New episodes are released every other Friday. Listen on their website or subscribe to their podcast on your favorite podcast streaming platform.
Listen to At the Table audio plays online

Broadway Records Listening Parties (Recorded)

Broadway Records recently launched a series of online listening parties. Artists involved in original cast recordings and solo albums listen to tracks and then chat about them. While there is a visual component to these gatherings as the artists appear on screen, listening is what's key here. New listening parties are released on select Fridays
Listen to Broadway Records Listening Parties on YouTube

BBC Radio 4 Audio Dramas (Recorded)

The BBC has free audio dramas for anyone to listen to. Audio dramas are performances with multiple voice actors, sound effects and music. Checkout their website and browse their collection.
Collection of BBC Radio 4 Audio Dramas Online

Free Audio Dramas by L.A. Theatre Works (Recorded)

L.A. Theatre Works has some audio performances that are free and available online. Below is a list of some of their offerings. Note: for screen reader users, the play button does not have a label.
M. Butterfly by L.A. Theatre Works
A Raisin in the Sun by L.A. Theatre Works
The Graduate by L.A. Theatre Works
The Importance of being Earnest by L.A. Theatre Works
Lost in Yonkers by L.A. Theatre Works
Park your Car in Harvard Yard by L.A. Theatre Works
Pride and Prejudice by L.A. Theatre Works
Crumbs from the Table of Joy by L.A. Theatre Works
The Hound of the Baskervilles by L.A. Theatre Works

The Accessible Stall – A disability Podcast

Emily Ladau and Kyle Khachadurian attempt to untangle the giant web of disability. Their podcast features interviews with disability advocates, discussions about accessibility and the disability community. Listen on their website or subscribe on your favorite podcast platform.
The Accessible Stall Website

The Bright Sessions Science fiction Podcast (Recorded)

The Bright Sessions is a science fiction podcast that follows a group of therapy patients. But these are not your typical patients - each has a unique supernatural ability. The show documents their struggles and discoveries as well as the motivations of their mysterious therapist, Dr. Bright.

You can listen for free on the Bright Sessions website or on most podcast platforms.

Dance, Fitness and Yoga

Below is a selection of workouts for various disability groups. The list includes dance classes, audio described workouts for people who are blind or have low vision as well as workouts modified for people with mobility disabilities. Some programs are recorded and can be accessed on the website of the publisher while others are reoccurring live events that take place on virtual conference platforms.

New Victory Dance (Recorded):

New Victory Theater shares recorded dance performances from New York City's most exciting dance companies, along with home activities that are accessible to view. The videos are recommended for kids age 8 years and up. Each chapter is 20 to 25 minutes long, audio described, captioned and is available in American Sign Language. Find out more information on the New Victory Theater website.
New Victory Dance

Daniel’s Music Foundation On Demand (Recorded):

Daniel’s Music Foundation (DMF) On-Demand is a free online resource within our Online Community for fun, interactive, recreational music and movement activities for people of all abilities and skills (including anyone with no prior musical experience). We encourage everyone to explore all of the videos from the comfort of your home to learn and enjoy music on your own schedule. Content is updated weekly, so be sure to visit us regularly to check out what’s new from DMF.
Daniel’s Music Foundation On Demand page

Krishna Washburn's Dark Room Ballet (Live)

Krishna Christine Washburn's Dark Room is a Ballet class for people who are blind or have low vision. It is held on Zoom every Monday evening from 8 PM to 9:30 PM Eastern Time. Classes are currently in session and will be held for the foreseeable future.

Participants are welcome regardless of previous dance experience! Krishna is a professional dancer and instructor, with plenty of experience accommodating the needs of a variety of students. While “ballet” is in the name, and the classes are ballet-based, Dark Room Ballet participants develop a broad toolbox of critical skills that prepare them to sign up for an intro dance class in any style elsewhere in the future.

Classes are currently available at no charge. If you would like to join the class or have any questions, please contact Krishna directly at the email listed below.
krishnawashburn@yahoo.com

Access Dance Company (Live)

Learn AXIS repertoire, deepen your yoga practice, discover new wheelchair skills and more with AXIS Workshops Online! We are thrilled to expand our online offerings with these weekly workshops on a variety of subjects, all available for you for you to participate in at home via Zoom. Cost is sliding-scale $0, $5 or $10 per workshop. All classes will be held on Wednesdays from 2:30 - 4:00pm, PST.
Access Dance Company Online Events page

Heidi Latsky Dance Virtual Events (Live)

HLD is a mixed dance company and they are holding multiple events and classes every week. Their events are live and held on platforms such as Instagram Live and Zoom Meetings.
Heidi Latsky Dance Virtual Events page

Accessible Fitness with Jonathon

Every Sunday from 11:00am to noon, Jonathon Epstein facilitates an Accessible Workout on Zoom.  All you need for these audio-described, adaptable, FREE, at-home workouts is space to move and some water.  Sessions include stretching, yoga, cardio and core strength exercises.  Jonathon suggests modifications for each movement and makes accommodations for the needs of each participant.  Some folks stay on the call after to socialize and catch up with the community. To learn more, email Jonathon at Jonathon.epstein@gmail.com or visit the Facebook page listed below.
Accessible Fitness with Jonathon Facebook Page

Intandem Bike (Live)

A group that provides cycling opportunities for people with disabilities has put together a calendar of online exercises, discussions, information sessions and educational opportunities. Checkout their calendar to learn more.
List of InTandem Virtual Events

The Axis Project (Live)

The Axis Project is an initiative that promotes the health and fitness of people with mobility disabilities. They hold weekly virtual events and workshops on Facebook live. Examples include adaptive workouts, yoga, cooking classes and more.
Axis Project on Facebook

Adaptive Climbing Group (Live)

Adaptive Climbing Group is holding weekly events on Instagram live which include adaptive workouts, guest speakers and Netflix movie nights.
ACG Online Registration Form

Blind Alive Audio Workouts (Recorded)

Blind Alive is the home of a complete set of an Eyes-Free Fitness audio exercise program. All programs are completely free for your downloading pleasure -- no strings attached. These programs allow you to stretch, strengthen, condition, and tone your body, all without the benefit of eyesight. All of these programs are thoroughly described with extra supplementary audio and text materials, should they be needed.
Blind Alive Website

Achilles International Virtual Workouts (Recorded)

Achilles International is offering at-home workouts led by an all-star coaching duo, Michael Anderson, (NYC Chapter Director and RRCA Certified Coach) and Francesco Magisano (Para-triathlete and Director of the Achilles Triathlon program). Workouts are posted to the Achilles Facebook Page five times per week and include sessions that emphasize cardio, strength training, stretching and yoga. Workouts are accessible and, whenever possible, feature descriptive video.
Achilles YouTube Channel
Achilles Virtual Training Programs Webpage

Adapt to Perform YouTube Channel (Recorded)

Ben Clark is a YouTuber that has created video workouts that are adapted for people with mobility disabilities.
Adapt to Perform YouTube Channel

New York City Parks Adaptive Workouts (Recorded)

NYC Parks has recorded a workout that is both descriptive and modified for folks with mobility disabilities.
NYC Parks @ Home: Adaptive Workouts with Household Items on Twitter
NYC Parks @ Home: Adaptive Workouts with Household Items on Facebook

Suggest a Virtual Event to be added to this list

If you have suggestions for virtual events that are free and accessible, you can Contact the Digital Accessibility Coordinator