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Many museums in central Europe encounter difficulties in adapting to the “for all” concept because of a lack of organisational knowledge and of limited financial resources, both for investments and adequate promotion. Cooperating for open access to museums towards a wider inclusion (COME-IN!) tackles this by increasing the capacities of small- and medium-sized museums by making them accessible to a wider public of people with different kinds of disabilities.
COME-IN! will coordinate a multi-faceted network of museums, disability associations, academic representatives, training institutions and policy makers, that will jointly define an innovative strategic approach on how to promote the accessibility to museums - in order to make them more attractive for the public.
Transnational high-level standards will be discussed and established and know-how transfer structured. The COME-IN! guidelines for organising an accessible collection/exhibition and the training handbook for museum operators will be elaborated and tested along its network. Pilot actions and training to operators will be performed and their results in terms of increased visibility studied. Based on the gained experience, an innovative promotional tool, the COME-IN! label for awarding museums complying with its accessibility standards, will be developed and initially conferred to the museums of the network. The COME-IN! label will be promoted at transnational, national and local level, in central Europe and beyond, thus guaranteeing its sustainability and transferability.
Accessibility is not a special need, everyone needs equal access and equal opportunies was one of the main arguments during the transnational conference “COME-IN! Challenges towards the accessible museum” which took place on June 8th , 2017 in Brussels. Several EU stakeholders attended the conference focused on COME-IN! Guidelines, consisting in a set of rules, technical requirements and legal framework to ensure full accessibility of small and medium museums in Central Europe.
Museums and monuments are not a static element and everyone has the right to enjoy culture. As Ms. Isabelle Brianso, from International Council of Museums mentioned, the museums of 21st century are quite different from what they were 20 years ago. Indeed, the focus should now be placed on the audience rather than on collections. Such an approach requires new tools and cultural mediation to have an impact on the audience. The mentioned evolution has led to new jobs, such as community managers, with expertise in museology.
Today we live in a new digital era that offers new opportunities to ensure accessibility for all, however, digitalization is not the only mean to grant inclusion. In fact, it requires a change of mindset, to educate and train, museum operators, teachers, tourism operators and finally children. Accessibility is a process that often requires a few attempts before finding the right solution. “We learn by doing”, explained Ms. Cintia Silva, from the Museu da Comunidade, Concelhia da Batalha, Portugal.
Very often, the main obstacle concerns physical access to the monuments and buildings, due to the monuments preservation laws. Mr. Werner, from the ICOMOS – International Council on Monuments and Sights illustrated some legislative conflicts between monuments preservation and everyone’s right to enjoy and participate in the cultural life.
However, most of the obstacles are those in our mind. COME-IN! partners focused on the idea of inclusion to avoid exclusion and integration that do not allow full accessibility. Disabilities are not a problem, barriers are and they need to be dismantled. To achieve this goal, the COME-IN! partnership delivered guidelines for small and medium museums to help museum staff identify main barriers and eliminate them. The basis for the guidelines is the “service chain” which takes into consideration all kinds of accessibilities: physical, information and communication, social and economic accessibility. The guidelines will serve as the starting point for partner museums to implement necessary interventions to ensure everyone to access their museum and enjoy the exhibitions. These interventions will be tested over a six month period and should new elements arise the guidelines will be revised. The museums that reach the foreseen minimum standards of accessibility will be awarded with a COME-IN! label, as a unique brand of accessible museum.
The ultimate goal is to transfer the experience and knowledge acquired in the project and convince other museums to apply the guidelines and receive the COME-IN! Label.
The conference agenda is available here.
After several months of hard works, partners have achieved one of the most important project results - the definition of COME-IN! Guidelines. The document consists in a set of rules, technical requirements, legal references necessary to make small and medium museums accessible to all. The document will be presented at the Transnational Conference in Brussels and can be downloaded in the publications section.
COME-IN! consortium has elaborated a report on accessibility in Central Europe defining the basic principles of inclusion and accessibility criteria, best practices and legal framework for making small and medium museums accessible to all. The criteria are based on a "service chain" enabling everyone to access museum exhibitions and services. Check the document in the "publications" section!
Project results are uploaded as soon as they are achieved. Stay tuned!
LP - CENTRAL EUROPEAN INITIATIVE EXECUTIVE SECRETARIAT, TRIESTE - ITALY
PP2 - Civic Museum and Galleries of History and Art, UDINE - ITALY
pp5 - Maritime museum "Sergej Mašera" Piran - slovenia
pp6 - Museum of Working World, steyr - austria
pp7 - Archeological Museum of Istra - croatia
pp8 - OZIV - Austrian Civil Disabled Association - austria
pp9 - BBRZ - Vocational Training- and Rehabilitation Centre - austria
pp10 - University of Applied Sciences Erfurt in Thuringia - germany
pp11 - Archeological Museum Weimar - germany
pp12 - NETZ - Media and Society - germany
pp13 - Archaeological Museum in Krakow poland
pp14 - Municipality of Piran - slovenia
Three working groups will be established to define needs, interventions and equipment necessary to reach transnational standards. This will lead to the definition of common guidelines to be transfered to cultural sites willing to guarantee full accessibility.
In order to reach the standards defined in the project, pilot actions will be put in place to test the strategy and approaches introduced.
Moreover, museum operators will be trained to deal with a wider scale of users.
The results will be analysed to study further improvements.
The consortium will elaborate a label to be awarded to museums and cultural sites that have applied the COME-IN! standards, as defined in the guidelines. The label will be promoted on transnational level to ensure the transferability also to other museums in the area and beyond.