MAPS – Accessible Museums for Deaf People

(c) ENS – Sezione Bolzano

Museums for deaf people

Two days of training in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology


How can a museum be made accessible for hearing-impaired people? Over the course of two days, practical guidelines were developed as part of the MAPS Project run by the Italian National Agency for the Protection and Assistance of the Deaf (ENS). [MAPS: Musei Accessibili per le Persone Sorde – Accessible Museums for Deaf People]

Fifteen young people whose mother tongue is German or Italian devoted two days (1 – 2 September 2018) to analysing the permanent exhibition of the museum. In addition, best-practice examples for hearing-impaired people from other museums were presented. Under the guidance of specialists they learned how to make inclusive videos or how to prepare a text and a guided tour in sign language. The aim of the session was to develop guidelines and to train people who advise cultural institutions on how to make visits more accessible for the hearing impaired.

The “MAPS” Project was provided by the Bozen-Bolzano Section of the National Agency for the Deaf. For Vice-president Debora Tonoli of the Bozen-Bolzano Section it is of the utmost concern to raise the awareness within cultural institutions. “It is only by providing knowledge and training and by empowering young deaf people as local contacts for accessibility that such institutions can be made available to all.”

The course was also a first step in establishing museum experts in the long term – for example, deaf guides who will be able to assist visitors with the same disability.

Margit Tumler, who participated in the meeting as the link person from the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, is eagerly looking forward to the results of the analyses and the recommendations the participants will be making. “And I do hope that we will be able to put these suggestions into practice right from the start in the new Museum of Archaeology.”


Participants in the MAPS Project at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology © ENS – Bozen-Bolzano Section

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