ARCHES celebrates the International Day of People with Disabilities

ARCHES would like to celebrate the International Day of People with Disabilities by giving the word to the member of its participatory groups, which meet in 6 museums around Europe.

Here are their contributions. Many thanks to everybody who has made this great work possible.

Now let’s see what Thomas Koeck, from the Vienna ARCHES group, has to say about our project:

The ARCHES project deals with inclusive art education and access to cultural heritage for people with different needs, no matter what kind. An important goal is to develop an easy-to-use App to make the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna more accessible. In Vienna, the ARCHES project is led by Dr. Rotraut Krall and her team of art mediators at the KHM. With the help of the art mediators, the persons with special needs were able to visit and understand various special exhibitions.
It is clear to all involved people that the ARCHES project is very important and should be continued in the future.

The second text is also from Vienna, this time from a visually impaired member:

On the trail of the great artists

It must be an uplifting feeling to stand in front of a masterpiece and immerse oneself in the many details, to dive into a sea of colours and figures and scenarios that the artist brings to life.

Blind people are excluded from this joy because of the loss of the most important of our senses, aren’t they?

When art mediators lend their eyes and put their vision and knowledge into words, a picture gradually emerges in the mind that, of course, can never equal the original. Nevertheless, scenarios take shape, moods become receptive and alive – almost as if one could see the picture.

In addition, reliefs convey a fairly precise idea of the spatial arrangement of the objects and their relationship to each other.

Finally, comprehensive verbal descriptions of the building and tactile graphics help to convey an impression of the location of the rooms, make it easier to orientate oneself and become a little at home.

In this way, even blind people can experience and enjoy the art of painting.

However, this overall concept can only succeed if everyone involved knows what measures are necessary to make a “museum for the eyes” accessible and experienceable to blind people as well.

ARCHES tries to build this bridge of understanding on the one hand in joint workshops and on the other hand in individually adapted activities.

The tours under expert guidance and together with people who are able to see, but who sometimes have other limitations when enjoying art, are like “seeing through the eyes of others” and not only open up a very special quality in looking at a work of art, but also convey a feeling of togetherness and thus broaden the horizon of one’s own perception.

I therefore consider it a privilege to be able to contribute a small part to the success of this courageous project.

Eva Papst, Vienna ARCHES group

The third text was prepared by the group that meets in Oviedo. It is titled “How do we want to be treated in the museum?” and points out how important it is that all museum staff are aware of the concept of accessibility and have basic training to support visitors with special needs.

How do we want to be treated in the museum?

1. There are creative, affordable and simple solutions for all things. For example, if you cannot enlarge the wall label on a painting, you can offer a booklet with the enlarged texts in the gallery or at the reception desk.
2. It is preferable for museum staff to offer proactive help, e.g. leading a person to a work of art rather than just pointing in the right direction.
3 Merely because someone wants to get close to a work does not mean they want to touch it. There are people with visual impairments who need to approach the work to see it better but without touching or damaging it. The museum staff will hopefully learn to distinguish between one thing and another.
4. It is not enough to be “accessible”! Museums need to indicate the nature of the resources and assistance they offer, both on the website and at the entrance to the venue.
5. Barrier-free audio guides with sign language and pictograms are essential for a successful and pleasant visit.

Happy #IDPWD #IDPD2018 #IDPD or whatever you want to call it. We are glad that our groups have found a way of expressing their views on accessibility in Museums through the ARCHES initiative, and are looking forward to sharing our findings with other institutions. Please do not hesitate to contact us at or through one of the participating partners.

Please find this text also in German and Spanish, through the language switcher, and hereafter the translations into Serbian, as one of our technology partners is from Belgrade.

Thomas Koeck

“ARCHES projekat se bavi inkluzivnim obrazovanjem i dostupnošću umetnosti i kulturnog nasleđa za ljude sa različitim potrebama, nezavisno od vrste potrebe. Važan cilj je razvoj aplikacija koje su jednostavne za korišćenje, a koje će Kunsthistorisches muzej u Beču učiniti dostupnijim. U Beču, ARCHES projekat vodi Dr. Rotraut Krall i njen tim umetničkih medijatora u KHM. Uz pomoć umetničkih medijatora, osobe sa posebnim potrebama su bile u mogućnosti da posete i razumeju razne specijalne izložbe.
Svima koji su učestvovali je jasno da je ARCHES važan projekat koji treba da se nastavi i u budućnosti”. Thomas Koeck

Eva Papst: Na tragu velikih umetnika.

Mora da je divan osećaj, stati ispred umetničkog dela i uroniti u najfinije detalje, more boja, figura i scenarija koje je umetnik oživeo.

Slepi ljudi nisu u mogućnosti da iskuse ovaj divan osećaj usled gubitka najvažnijeg čula, zar ne?

Kada umetnički medijatori pozajme svoje oči, a vid i znanje pretoče u reči, slika polako počinje da se stvara u umu, naravno, nikada neće biti moguće u potpunosti opisati original. Ali svakako se u umu, oblikuju scenariji, osećanja postaju prijemčiva i živa – skoro da je moguće videti sliku.

Dodatno, reljefima se prenosi precizna prostorna orjentacija objekata i njihova povezanost.

Konačno, detaljani verbalni opisi zdanja i taktilne grafike pomažu da se prenesu impresije lokacije, soba, olakšava orjentaciju i stvara osećaj kao da ste kod kuće.

Na ovaj način, čak i slepi ljudi mogu da uživaju u slikama.

Celokupan koncept može da uspe samo ako svi učesnici znaju koje su to mere neophodne da se “muzeji za oči” učine dostupnim i slepim ljudima.

ARCHES pokušava da izgradi taj most razumevanja kroz zajedničke radionice, kao i kroz druge personalizovane aktivnosti.

Ture organizovane sa ekspertskim vodičima i ljudima koji vide ali možda imaju druga ograničenja za uživanje u umetnosti, omogućavaju da se “vidi tuđim očima”, pružajući dodatne kvalitete prilikom posmatranja umetnosti, ali i stvaraju osećaj pripadnosti grupi što omogućava širenje horizonta pojedinačne percepcije.

Zato ja smatram za privilegiju da će moj skromni doprinos, pomoći u uspehu ovako hrabrog projekta.

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