On Tuesday April 26, 2022 the Sybir Memorial Museum invited the authorities of a few cultural institutions from the Podlaskie voivodeship to the conference “Increasing the Accessibility of Cultural Institutions”. It is the very first such initiative in region after the imposition of new legislation.
Museums, galleries and cultural centers’ employees, who serve (or will serve) as the role of the coordinator for availability came to Węglowa 1. What does such a person take care of? Karolina Mosiej-Zambrano, the coordinator for availability in the Sybir Memorial Museum explains: “The coordinator’s task is to make the institution’s activities available to the widest possible group of recipients, including those with special needs. The coordinator follows the current regulations, takes care of the implementation of appropriate solutions, and trains employees”.
An important part of the meeting was signing the agreement about cooperation between the Sybir Memorial Museum — represented by its director, professor Wojciech Śleszyński – with the Foundation of Culture Without Barriers, which was represented by its president, Anna Żórawska.
Anna Żórawska — president of the Foundation of Culture Without Barriers, Robert Więckowski — vice-president of the Foundation and Tomasz Włodarski — deputy of the director of the Culture Institution of the Małopolska Region gave lectures at the conference. They explained what was the coordinator’s job about, what challenges awaited for cultural institutions which want to open up to the needs of their recipients.
After the lecture part the participants of the meeting took part in workshops, during which they were discussing the problems with availability, looking for solutions and sharing good practices.
“It was the most important aim of the meeting — initating the regional network of leaders of availability” — explained professor Wojciech Śleszyński, PhD, director of the Sybir Memorial Museum.
The Sybir Memorial Museum, the most modern institution in the region, in terms of both the building and the permanent exhibition itself has been prepared according to the latest regulations and knowledge about accessibility. The Museum provides special solutions for people with physical disabilities — walkers and wheelchairs are available free of charge, parking, ramps and toilets have been adapted.
For people with visual disabilities a model of the exhibition and models of selected exhibits have been prepared in 3D printing technology. They are also described in Braille. Visitors can also take advantage of the audioguide with audio description. Especially for people with hearing impairment, the Sybir Memorial Museum has installed induction loops — both at the ticket office, in the audiovisual room and at the permanent exhibition. In addition, the audioguide proposes a path in Polish sign language.
Neurosensitive people were also taken care of — with them in mind, on Wednesdays, there are silent visiting hours at the core exhibition, and the “silent room” has been arranged in the Museum building.
The activity of the Sybir Memorial Museum for accessibility was appreciated by specialists from the Culture Without Barriers Foundation, who, at the request of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, prepared a publication on model solutions in cultural institutions, also based on the example of our museum.