Work on establishing the department began in September 2014, when Garage Education organised Invisible Experience, exploring how cultural institutions can be made accessible to visually impaired visitors. This resulted in extensive research into creating a more inclusive museum environment, as well as spurring a program of special activities for hearing and sight-impaired visitors. Now, with the department fully operational, Garage will offer a wide range of services for people of all ages with special physical and communication needs who choose to visit the Museum independently, as well as regular tours and activities for blind, hearing impaired, and deaf visitors.
Garage Director Anton Belov explains, "In the first two months our new building was open, Garage welcomed over 500 visitors with disabilities, which is a remarkably high number relative to current statistics for other museums in Russia. But, of course, for a city the size of Moscow this number is still small. Our work has really only just begun. As a forward looking institution, it’s important to us at Garage that people of all ages and abilities feel they can visit the Museum whenever they wish and that they are in an inclusive, welcoming environment.”
To further support museums and cultural institutions throughout Russia in advancing accessibility, Garage has partnered with the “So–Edinenie Deafblind Support Fund” to present Experience the Museum from 28 to 30 September 2015. This is a three-day course for professionals from over 20 museums across Russia, designed to train staff in overcoming physical, social, and communication barriers with disabled museum visitors. The program will include lectures and workshops dedicated to sharing experiences and promoting knowledge about accessibility and inclusion for visitors with special needs.
Speakers include: Elaine Addington, Curator, Open Museum, Glasgow, UK; Jocelyn Dodd, Director of Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, University of Leicester, UK; Marcus Dickey Horley, Curator of Access Projects, Tate Modern and Tate Britain, London, UK; Rebecca McGinnis, Senior Museum Educator, Access and Community Programs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
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