Report for accessibility to museums in Bulgaria
Regarding the project “Opening Heritage and Archeological Sites for People with Special Needs – OHAS” № 2018-1-PL01-KA204-051178 for Erasmus + program, was made research, for purpose to check accessibility for people with special needs. As a representative sample were selected 5 museums – National Historical Museum –Sofia; Regional Historical museum-Ruse; Regional Historical museum – Kurdjali; Regional Historical museum – Haskovo and Historical museum “Iskra” – Kazanluk.
After generalization the information will be selected the bestpractices.
People with hearing impaired
For this group of visitors does not even offer minimal amenities. The physical accessibility is expressed in the fact that they have the opportunity to enter the museums and view expositions. They can reach each level of the buildings.
Only in the National Historical Museum, the staffs have been trained to communicate and work with hearing impaired people. None of the sites visited have an induction chain and no one speaks sign language. This made communication difficult. National Historical Museum and the Eco museum in Ruse have multimedia presentations with subtitles. These movies are not designed specifically for this group of visitors.
All employees are keen to improve the accessibility of museums to the particular group. They collaborate with organizations which help to people with special needs. National Historical Museum, work with “Alter Consult”. Regional Historical Museum – Kurdjali work with Organization for people with disabilities.
People with visual impairment
The entrance of the sites, is not marked with contrast. None of the expositions have any relief paths, panels.
There is an elevator in the following sites: National Historical Museum – Sofia, Regional Historical museum – Haskovo, Regional Historical Museum - Kurjali, Eco museum – Ruse (Picture 7).It is possible to move to the 2-nd floor, but only with assistant. There are no voice messages in the elevators. Buttons are not available for visually impaired people.
Training for communication and working with them was conducted only by the staff of the National Museum of History in Sofia. They cooperate with “Alter Consult”. Regional Historical Museum – Kurdjali, work with the “Union of the Blind”.
In all institutions, visually impaired people can touch the exhibits. In Eco museum Ruse and Regional Historical Museum – Kurdjali can touch not only the originals, but also duplicates, models e.t. (Picture 8, 9, 10).The other three sites are not allowed to touch and most of the exhibits are behind the showcase. Only in the National Historical Museum – Sofia has been developed a project on which an exhibition was created of Braille – “Fragile tolerance”. In the Eco museum in Ruse have a movie with an audio description, but it doesn’t make specially, for this group of people.
People with physical disabilities.
Accessibility in the sites visited is relatively well developed for this group of people. All have ramps at the entrance. Only in Historical museum “Iskra” – Kazanluk, is not possible to reach the upper level of wheelchair the exposition. They haven’t elevator, as opposed to the other museums. Only at the front door in National Historical Museum – Sofia, offer free wheelchairs. In 5 sites the people with physical disabilities has access to wardrobe, cash desk, souvenir shop. The worktop has a standard height – about 80 cm. All institutions have lifting platform, ramp and stair robot. In National Historical Museum – Sofia and Historical museum “Iskra” – Kazanluk has trained people for work with people with physical disabilities. In the Historical museum “Iskra” the stair robot is made by project and financed by Agency for Disabled People (Picture 11).
All museums work with organizations, which act in favor of people with disabilities. They are :
National Historical Museum – Sofia with “Alter Consult”
Regional Historical museum – Haskovo work with “Club of the disabled people with physical disabilities”
Eco museum – Ruse with “Caritas – branch Ruse and Ekvilibrium”
Regional Historical museum Kurdjali with “Organization for disable people”
In National Historical Museum – Sofia and Eco museum – Ruse has adapted and market toilet for people with disabilities (Picture 12).
People with intellectual disabilities and autism.
This group of people does not visit museums very often.
The staff has an understanding of this type of visitors. They are ready to close their museum for other visitors. The sounds and the light can be reduced in need. In the documents haven’t fixed days and hours for visits to people with such difficulties. Without having received any training, the staff try to adjust to work with people with intellectual disabilities.