Disabled girl denied access to museum because ‘wheelchair would get carpets dirty’
- Lexi Hass, 11, suffers from a rare neurological condition that has left her physically non-functional
- Her parents were shocked when they were told her wheelchair wouldn’t be allowed into the Ships of the Sea Museum in Savannah, Georgia
- It was even suggested that the Haas family might want to leave their daughter outside watching a video while they saw the exhibits
- The museum has apologized and blamed a member of staff who didn’t understand their wheelchair policy
By Daily Mail Reporter PUBLISHED: 9 July 2013
She and her family spent the weekend in Savannah, Georgia and had planned to visit the Ships of the Sea Museum on Sunday but were told they wouldn’t be able to bring Lexi’s wheelchair into the museum.
The Ships of the Sea Museum in Savannah, Georgia is housed in an old building, but that isn’t the reason that Lexi was refused entry
Lexi’s father Dr. Stephen Haas told WBTV that he thought it might be difficult for his daughter to visit the museum because it is housed in a historic building, but he said the reason given ‘didn’t make any sense’.
The family were told they couldn’t bring in Lexi’s almost brand new wheelchair because it would get dirty the carpets.
‘Apparently the Ships and Sea Museum in Savannah Georgia has a policy that wheelchairs from the outside are not allowed on the carpet but shoes are allowed,’ the family posted on Lexi’s Facebook page.
That wasn’t a viable option for the Haas family as Lexi’s wheelchair has special straps because she can’t sit up on her own.
The museum then suggested that Lexi could sit outside and watch a video while the rest of her family walked through the exhibit.
‘They really need to train their staff. They really do. It’s a significant error and significant departure in the current thinking on disability access,’ Lexi’s mother Susan Haas told WBTV.
The family decided not to enter and have since received an apology email from the museum’s director, and accepted that apology.
They aren’t looking to file an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint, but just want to make it clear that this type of thing is not acceptable.
Museum curator Wendy Melton has blamed the mix-up on an employee who misunderstood the museum’s wheelchair policy. She said she has spoken with the employee and made the policy clear for the future.
Lexi was angry about not visiting the museum as she enjoys learning, but her parents took her for ice cream instead and enjoyed the rest of her stay in Savanna.