SEVERAL REMARKS ON THE ACCESSIBILITY OF MUSEUMS UPON THE EXAMPLE OF PORTUGAL. THE WINNER OF THE BATTLE WAS BATALHA
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Accessibility is an idea that gave rise to museums and galleries all over the world. Their origin was rendered possible the moment private galleries were opened to the wide public. From the present-day perspective accessibility still remains a challenge for the museum sector as an idea placing the recipient – conceived as participant and co-creator – in the forefront. In addition, this holds true for every recipient, able-bodied or handicapped, regardless of his origin or social status. The author discusses the realisation of the idea of accessibility upon the examples of Portuguese museums, intending them to become an inspiration for Polish exhibition institutions. With an analysis of pertinent statutory regulations as a point of departure, the article presents numerous innovations not only from the Polish viewpoint but also on a European scale. The author describes a network concentrating staff members of the sector – Group for Access to Museums, auteur projects of rendering museum collections accessible to the blind and visually impaired at the National Azulejo Museum, the educational initiatives of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and Foundation, and the Batalha Community Museum, winner of the Kenneth Huston Award 2012, an international prize presented by the European Museum Forum. The cited examples accentuate a number of essential elements making feasible a necessary, in the author’s opinion, change of the museum sector in Poland. First, she considers the attitude towards the recipient: the museum is a joint space of meetings involving specialists and the local community for the purpose of exchanging not commodities and services but experiences, cooperation, and co-creation. The second constitutive element is a constant exchange of experiences upon the level of a city, a country, Europe and the world: consultations, sharing experiences, and building a network. Finally, the last and most obvious condition indispensable in every creative activity is freedom from outside and inner pressure.
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