Towards the inclusive museum: The German Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (DBSV) launches a new project
What do you need when visiting a museum as a blind or partially sighted person? Many experts have already given thought to this issue and pointed out key aspects in numerous publications.
First of all, you need to find the museum and be able to orient yourself in the building. Having a good route description, well visible references for partially sighted people and a proper tactile guidance system for blind visitors are very helpful for this purpose. An audioguide should contain not only background information about the exhibits, but also descriptions of their appearance. And finally, you should be able to touch as many items as possible – best if original, but at least replicas, models or tactile images. The DBSV has been active in the field of accessible culture for a long time and has developed, inter alia, recommendations for implementing accessibility in museums. Still, this implementation is frequently inappropriate. The DBSV therefore has launched its new project “Kultur mit allen Sinnen” (Culture with all senses). The aim of this two and a half year project is to make the permanent exhibition of the Berlinische Galerie, dedicated to Berlin artists from the 19th and 20th centuries, more accessible for visitors with a visual impairment, but also invite other groups of people with disability to help improve the general access to the museum and its collections. On the basis of this example, guidelines for implementing inclusion in museums should be developed. Blind and partially sighted people, experts on accessibility and museum´s staff will work together in the search of practical implementation possibilities for the three fields orientation, audioguide and tactile media. In Autumn 2017, the Berlinische Galerie will present its extented inclusive offer, thus encouraging other museums to head for the inclusive era.