Guaranteed accessibility for people with disabilities at Barcelona’s museums

Measures are already in place at the Monastery of Pedralbes, the Museu del Disseny, the Botanical Garden, the Museum of Ethnology and World Cultures, the Fabra i Coats and centres belonging to the Barcelona Institute of Culture.

26/02/2019 17:23 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

Monastery of Pedralbes

The new accessibility features at the city’s museums were presented at the monastery museum, where numerous measures have been taken to enable everyone to visit.

The tomb of Queen Elisenda of Montcada is one of the most interesting funeral sites in Catalonia and dates back to the year 1300. A touch-sensitive scale model now allows people with visual impairment to touch each of the details. There’s also a description in braille and a revolving pedestal allowing visitors to get up or down from the model.

The monastery also offers adapted activities and visits highlighting how programmes at cultural facilities need to be universal and accessible to all.

Finally, ‘Guia’m’ is a labour insertion initiative that gets under way at the monastery on 28 February and sees young people with Asperger’s syndrome acting as cultural heritage guides.

The Museu del Disseny backs accessibility

The Museu del Disseny is one of the facilities which has implemented the most new accessibility measures. In June 2018 the museum opened the exhibition ‘Do you work or design? New visual communication 1980-2003’, which includes accessibility measures for people with visual impairment. A mobile app makes the items in the exhibition more accessible with an audio-description in three languages.

A touch-sensitive map on the ground floor of the museum allows the visually-impaired to get their bearings and locate seven accessible points with touchscreens, information in braille and large print.

In November, the third edition of the ‘Design for life’ meeting centred on functional diversity to gather ideas, proposals and projects exploring how design can mediate between us and our abilities. The meeting featured accessible communication measures.

Mobility and technology

For its part, the Jardí Botànic introduced new easy-to-read information panels, a key means of offering clear and accessible scientific content for everyone, particularly those who have difficulty reading. The gardens also acquired a second electric vehicle for people with reduced mobility.

Thanks to Barcelona Sense Barreres, a municipally-backed free mobile app for the visually-impaired also allows them to enjoy the Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Món. The app offers audio or text of interest when users pass in front of points where devices are installed to emit the content.

Exhibitions for all

The Centre d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona – Fabra i Coats has also included easy-to-read texts for its exhibition ‘Duae Collective’, located at street level, along with various display elements at a suitable height for wheelchair users.

Promoting inclusion in culture

In 2017, the museums belonging to the ICUB adhered to Apropa Cultura, a platform facilitating collaboration between cultural centres and social organisations to promote inclusion and social transformation through culture. The platform offers reduced prices to organisations working with groups at risk of social exclusion in order to foster the use of culture.

A total of 4,021 users from Apropa Cultura visited the various museums and heritage centres in 2018.

More than ten years to make culture a universal right

The promotion and improvement of accessibility at the city’s cultural centres is an important factor for the ICUB, which has been working shoulder to shoulder with the Municipal Institute for People with Disabilities (IMPD) in this direction for over ten years.

The IMPD provides specialised advice, as well as a bond with the users and entities in question to cater for the specific needs of different collectives.

Numerous activity programmes by the ICUB also guarantee universal accessibility at events such as El Grec, La Mercè, Santa Eulàlia, the Three Kings Parade etc. To this end, a working group on accessibility at museums and exhibition centres was set up in 2017, with accessibility representatives from each of the fifteen museums, archives and art centres belonging to the ICUB.


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