Kuppe, who is deaf, spent about three months researching ways the museum could make the displays in its galleries more accessible, and how the docents who serve as volunteer tour guides could better accommodate people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The project was capped by Kuppe's presentation in late February to CMoG's staff and docents.
An Elmira resident, Kuppe recently graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City with a degree in Art History and Museum Professions. She also volunteered at the city's Whitney Museum of American Art, giving tours for people who are deaf. Traveling - particularly to visit art museums - is her passion.
AIM's Supported Employment Program, funded by New York State ACCESS-VR, arranged a work experience for Kuppe at CMoG after she moved back to the area from the city, where she had struggled to find a job.
The Supported Employment Program attempts to find local work experiences that fit consumers' interests and background, said Erin Morseman, AIM's director of independent living.
Recognizing the unique perspective she could provide, CMoG asked Kuppe to look at ways to improve the museum experience for people with disabilities.
Her suggestions during her presentation included CMoG offering monthly tours for different segments of the disability community.
Kuppe's presentation also included other speakers who focused on improving the museum experience for people with autism and those with limited mobility.
"What I hope the staff will take from my presentation is that there's always room to improve, even if everything is perfect in terms of accessibility, and to broaden their horizons in terms of opportunities and to extend the diversity for the museum," Kuppe said. "They could also look to other museums for ideas and to get ideas from the disability community, as well. There's always things that are never thought of unless someone experiences it."
Making sure best practices are being implemented under the Americans with Disabilities Act is an ongoing process at CMoG, said Jessica Trump, supervisor for volunteer and internship programs. CMoG had 460,000 visitors from around the world last year.
"Staci is a great example of someone who's very intelligent but who might not always be given a chance to communicate her ideas," Trump said. "As the presentation showed, the end product was great and the work she did was very helpful."