With the support of beeline, Garage is launching an inclusive family app for children with developmental disabilities

2 Dec 2021

The Inclusive Programs Department team at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, together with beeline, presents the free mobile app I’m Going to the Museum. The app will become a guide to the world of art and culture for children and adults.

Drawing on an understanding of inclusion as the creation of comfortable conditions for all kinds of visitors—with or without disabilities, with experience of migration or other experiences—the Inclusive Programs Department team began developing an app to make the Museum more accessible to everyone.

The app introduces the visitor to the museum space and explains contemporary art accessibly, in simple language and through play. The visitor is invited to take a tour of the Museum and use their new knowledge in interactive quests. More related materials will be added to the app in future, including a podcast, audio guides, and workshops.

Guided by the principles of participatory design, the Garage team worked closely with the community and I’m Going to the Museum is the result of collaboration between potential users of the app, their families, teachers, and inclusion experts.

Antonina Steinberg, head of Autistic City, a project to support of adults with ASD: “New technologies combined with the trend for total digitization really do have the potential to improve the lives of neurodiverse people. If developed with a focus on universal design, the user interface of any software app opens up new communication, learning, socialization, and development opportunities for everyone. This is why it is particularly important to take neurodiverse users and the way they interact with devices and digital content into account when developing user interfaces. When making this app, we drew on evidence-based scientific research and design standards for products made for neurodiverse users. We followed the principles outlined in the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative and the ideas of inclusive or universal design. We hope that we have succeeded in making I’m Going to the Museum both convenient and accessible.”

Evgenia Hilkevich, Head of Sociocultural Integration at the Federal Resource Center for Supporting Children with ASD at Moscow State University of Psychology and Pedagogy: “As well as its dedication to the principles of universal design, the app I’m Going to the Museum has great educational and developmental potential. The methods used in its development are among the latest practices for working with people with ASD that have proved to be effective.

The combination of social stories, video modeling, visual support, and social training elements has allowed its makers to create a universal tool that gives users an opportunity to practice new skills in a given space.”

Diana Rekhviashvili, curator of the children’s project at Anton Tut Ryadom Foundation: “We are certain that the social story in the reference part of the app will be of use to all visitors, not just those with ASD. The format combining video, voice guidance, and text makes the story accessible to most neurodiverse people. It is both important and natural that more spaces are becoming open and accessible to all.”

Evgenia Chistova, Head of Sustainable Development at beeline: “Attention to the human rights agenda and therefore to inclusion in its broadest context is a key trend today. Developing accessible infrastructures for spaces, transport, commercial services—banks, retail stores, services, and mobile operators—is not a sign of special attention to a particular group of people. On the contrary, it’s a basic element in the implementation of human rights.

Over the past ten years, beeline has been investing its expertise in the development of technologies that improve the lives of people with disabilities. We collaborate with a broad circle of partners and are delighted to work with the experts and the community at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art to open up museum spaces to neurodiverse people.”

Garage runs regular workshops and adapted tours for various communities. Inclusion experts and anyone interested in questions of museum accessibility can attend the international conference Experiencing the Museum, organized at the museum since 2015.

On December 9, the app I’m Going to the Museum will be presented at a roundtable discussion about the present and future of the project. The discussion will take place online and will be broadcast on the Garage YouTube channel. Participants will include representatives of different departments at Garage, project developers Trinity Monsters, project partner beeline, and experts and advisers on inclusion.


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