In 2019, five small grants have been administered by BMN with the financial support of the Headley Trust UK. The museums eligible to receive a grant were museums that have undergone the Access Survey process. Implemented projects are based on the report and recommendations of accessibility consultants from the Balkan Museum Access Group (BMAG). Five museums that have been awarded 1.500 EUR grants are: N.I. Institute and Museum Bitola, National Museum of Leskovac. Museum of Vojvodina, The National Museum of Secret Surveillance: “House of Leaves” and Archeological Museum of the Republic of North Macedonia.
N.I. Institute and Museum Bitola
N.I. Institute and Museum Bitola improved its adding descriptive texts (both in Macedonian and English), audio narrations and videos in sign language for fourteen (14) representative objects from the museum exhibition. Audio narration, allows the visitor’s smartphone also to be used as an audio guide. Using fusing machine for the production of tactile images, the project team produce twenty-one (21) tactile images for the interpretation of museum objects. Some of these objects were also described with produced audio content that was tailored for the needs of blind and visually impaired visitors. The project was implemented in cooperation with the experts and organizations from the Balkan region and to our great satisfaction, the pupils from the Institute for Rehabilitation of Children with Impaired Hearing – “Koco Racin” Bitola.
Museum of Vojvodina
Museum of Vojvodina improved the existing orientation in the museum building installed 25 direction signage tables, including the one with the information about the Museum’s working hours, ticket prices and available services. Together with the tables, 5 easy movable light chairs are now available in the area of the permanent exhibition. The Museum of Vojvodina will continue to develop the information tables system and make the museum more accessible based on the needs of all museum visitors.
National Museum of Leskovac
National Museum of Leskovac improved the access to its permanent exhibition for disabled people as well as visitor experience developing multimedia content about museum collections that includes translation to sign language as well as audio material about the museum collections. Visitors can view this material online at the museum web site or on the screen in the museum. Blind and visually impaired visitors can now walk independently through the collection following 14 meters of installed tactile trail, which leads to a tactile exhibition area within the permanent exhibition. Glasses with additional light and a magnifier are also provided upon the request. Also several benches are now available in the exhibition area. All this would not be possible without partnership with disabled people associations, such as the City organization of deaf and partially deaf Leskovac, Association of people with disabilities Leskovac, Association of blind and visually impaired people Srbija and other colleagues and partners.
The National Museum of Secret Surveillance: “House of Leaves”
The National Museum of Secret Surveillance: “House of Leaves” has improved the services of the museum for disabled people, especially for visually impaired visitors. The official website of the museum was made readable for the blind people with the assistance of IT experts. New multimedia content is produced and published on the front page of the museum’s web site to include seven minutes long audio material containing the general information about the museum. The project was realized in close cooperation with the Albanian Institute for the Blind Children “Ramazan Kabashi”. Museum catalogue, both in Albanian and in English language, was produced in Braille. Every room in the museum now has a number in Braille thus the navigation through the museum is easier and blind people are able to follow every room in a consecutive order.
The Archaeological Museum of North Macedonia
The Archaeological Museum of North Macedonia produced educational videos with sign language about their artifacts and developed a virtual walk through the museum. The videos (also translated to English) are published both on the museum's website and museum's YouTube channel. Access to videos is also provided in the exhibition space, by scanning the QR codes placed next to the objects. The project was implemented in partnership with several associations of people with disabilities and consultants from the Balkans. This professional approach and concept was first implemented almost two years ago at the Bitola Institute and Museum and in 2019 contextualized to the Archeological Museum with great support from managers and with the participation of colleagues from this institution.
In 2018, five members that have been awarded 4.000 EUR grants are: Museum of the Macedonian Struggle – Skopje, Association Istarsko Ecomuseum Vodnjan, History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina (in partnership with Museum of Vojvodina), Institute and Museum Bitola (in partnership with Zenica City Museum) and Regional Museum Gorazde.
Museum of the Macedonian Struggle
Museum of the Macedonian Struggle – Skopje implemented "Open museums – Improving access and inclusion of blind and visually impaired visitors". The museum built on the exhibiting catalogue for the permanent exhibition printed in Braille to produce additional results such as recording audio material for the audio guide; producing captions and other materials in Braille; preparing tactile historical maps; purchasing holders for the historical maps/objects and designing; printing the catalogue and basic training of the museum guides that also included staff from other museums. Over the years, the museum has established collaboration with a State School for the Blind and their students are included in the educational programs.
Association “Istarsko – ecomuseum from Vodnjan”
Association “Istarsko – ecomuseum from Vodnjan” implemented the project "Eco-printing: sustainable culture" aiming at involving disabled and marginalized groups in everyday social and cultural life of the local community; fostering solidarity and inclusion among cultural operators, international volunteers, museum staff, local community and disabled and marginalized people in workshops and get-togethers, educating museum staff through the method of “learning-by-doing” on working and engaging disabled people in the museums. The process of eco-printing on textiles was shown in five workshops, after which the final exhibition and fashion show were organised, developing new skills of disabled people and making a step towards their integration into the everyday life of local community.
History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Museum of Vojvodina
History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in partnership with the Museum of Vojvodina implemented the project “Voice of the community and museum interpretation”. The basic idea of this project was to find new interpretations for objects and collections that represents the socialist regime of SFR Yugoslavia. Connecting chosen artifacts with universal values and contemporary problems gives us new possibilities for re-valorization of “neglected” heritage of the Second World War and Socialism; collections of photographs, works of art, 3D objects and archive documents. Selected objects from these collections were (re)interpreted from today’s perspective with the involvement of the younger and older local communities in Sarajevo and Novi Sad. These results of the project were show in the exhibition and publication.
Institute and Museum in Bitola and Zenica City Museum
Institute and Museum in Bitola and Zenica City Museum implemented the project “Touching Art” that consisted of preparation and printing of tactile replicas and images for the representative museum objects (7 for Bitola and 7 for Zenica) and 3 antique mosaics from Zenica City Museum; organization of interactive, specialized workshops for disabled people with visual impairments; producing a joint exhibition of tactile images and replicas and making adaptation to the educational corner in the Bitola museum with tables and chairs. Members from the Associations of blind people were very interested in workshops especially the tactile images and tactile copies and mosaics.
Regional Museum Gorazde
Regional Museum Gorazde implemented the project "Inclusion of disabled people and preparations for the souvenir shop" involving people with cerebral palsy and osteoporosis together. The result of the project was the establishment of a small museum souvenir shop selling the souvenirs that have been developed in workshops with children and adults with different disabilities using different materials.
In 2017, the themes of the public call were Access and inclusion of Deaf and disabled people in museums and Digitization in museums. The maximum amount available per grant was 4.000,00 EUR. After careful evaluation of 17 received projects, 3 were awarded a grant. The short description of the funded projects is bellow.
Zenica City Museum
Zenica City Museum implemented project “3D Muse” that presented existing collections using digitization and making it accessible to everyone, especially disabled people. The Museum produced new formats of labels that are more interactive and suitable to different audiences and 3D models of the specific exhibits. Disabled people were included in museum’s activities, stories of artifact presented using technology, as well as the on web site and social media channels in new and more accessible way.
The National Historical Museum Athens
The National Historical Museum Athens implemented “A Touch of History!” to improve access for blind and partially sighted people by designing tours, handling sessions, offering museum educational service and information to this category of visitors. Results achieved in this project jointly implemented with the "Lighthouse for the Blind of Greece" are:(1) Creation and implementation of a Touch Tour and handling sessions at the NHM that highlight the history of the building and the museum, as well as main exhibition themes. The Touch Tour will be supported by either NHM staff or by blind and partially sighted tour guides. (2) Production of tactile images of selected objects from the NHM's collections, in two copies: one set will be used in the NHM Touch Tour; the other will enrich the permanent exhibition of the Tactile Museum. (3) Authoring and printing of informative texts in Braille and large print that will support the Touch Tour and the visit in general. (4) Production of live and online verbal audio description for the Touch Tour. (5) Consultation meetings and peer-learning activities involving the museum staff and the target groups. (6) Dissemination activities (web sites, social media, TV spot, Organization of a closing public event).
National museum of Leskovac
National museum of Leskovac with the project “One museum – a lot of hope” improved equal access of disabled children to museum, enabled better quality of their lives and improved social integration. The aims of the project were to enable children with disabilities to enjoy in the right way to research the history and culture of their region through a customized presentation of the subject of museum collections. The workshops were designed for children aged 7 to 13 years, teachers, parents, grandmothers and grandparents and everyone who understands the importance of applying inclusion in institutions such as museums. The project is being implemented in partnership with the Regional Museum in Knjaževac and the school "11. October " in Leskovac that works with children with disabilities. Within this project, from September 1 to October 31, inclusive workshops and accompanying activities for children will be organized:
In 2016, three members that have been awarded 4.000 EUR grants are The Homeland Museum of Knjazevac, History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Consulting and Development Partners in partnership with the Site of Witness and Memory (part of Shkodra Historical Museum).
The Homeland Museum of Knjazevac & Institute and Museum in Bitola
The Homeland Museum of Knjazevac in partnership with Institute and Museum in Bitola implemented “Museum4all-Museum2Go” and increased the accessibility of the Museum programs using the concept of the museum in suitcase; Organized programs and meetings, regional conference with the goal to present good practice and teach about the possible use of the “suitcase” model for museum professionals and representatives of associations that work with disabled people; Use tablets to present and interpret museum collection, with developed application and printed materials and legends in Braille with tactile maps and images; create suitcases based on traditional kasela or škrinja, used both in Serbian and Macedonian traditional cultures with selected objects and replicas that were made for both museums and exchanged between partners aiming to communicate cultures and heritage.
ARKA & Shkodra Historical Museum
Consulting and Development Partners (NGO) in partnership with The Site of Witness and Memory (which is a part of Shkodra Historical Museum) implemented the project “Shkodran Memories: Stories of Communism Passed Down”. Within the project video interviews with Shkodran survivors of the communist-era violence have been produced. The interviews, as well as the Site’s archive of newspaper press clippings, and survivor’s accounts in books, have served as the source material for young artists and media producers to tell their stories. Other results of the project were a photography exhibition of young artists exploring the communist legacy in Albania, a panel discussion with the elders, and a temporary art installation in a former prison’s cells in the museum. Media campaign allpwed for presence of this topic in the public discourse.
History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina & EDUS
History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina & EDUS (Education for all, Association for advancement of education and support for children with and without developmental delays) implemented the project “Hi(story) funhouse”. The main objectives of this project were to create the space for children in the museum, to present the museum’s collections and to invlude disabled children in educational activities. The project resulted with the creation of the children's corner in the museum; production of the picture book and coloring sheets with authentically developed and personifications characters that represent the museum objects; five educational workshops for children and young people based on the picture books and developed materials; an exhibition of drawings of children with autism.
In 2015, four members that have been awarded 3.000 EUR grants are Museum of African Art, The Homeland Museum of Knjazevac, Institute and Museum Bitola and Zenica City Museum.
Museum of African Art
Museum of African Art implemented “MAA for all, all to the MAA - a special program for the elderly” with the main aim is to support the integration and active participation of the older generations in the museums and originated from visits by local curators to homes for elderly people across Belgrade. During the workshops, several programmes of the museum were presented followed by activities, such as clay sculpture workshops. Additionally, the participants experienced guided visits to the museum. Free visits and programmes for elderly people have become a regular offer of MAA.
The Homeland Museum of Knjaževac
The Homeland Museum of Knjaževac implemented “Museum for everyone” though withich the museum established lasting cooperation and partnership with the association of disabled people with multiple sclerosis, as well as two associations of blind and people with hearing impairment from Nis and Zajecar. The results of the project are development of ramps, mobile application for people with hearing impairments, guides in Braille, tactile maps and accessible museum web-site. Also, the museums has established partnership with association of disabled people in North Macedonia and together with local, partner and colleagues from Museum in Bitola they organized workshops, public events and lectures.
Zenica City Museum
Zenica City Museum‘s project “Stories from the past” consisted of three workshops, working trip to medieval town of Vranduk and the city of Travnik, as well as a small event where the results of this project were presented along with a short amateur documentary. In this project both members of the Association Lotus and Association “Let’s be friends”, a daily center for people older than 18 who have certain mental and physical difficulties, were involved. The Museum organized painting workshop, a workshop of making greeting cards and bookmarks, and a dance workshop. The main theme of all workshops and the project itself was the medieval period in Bosnia and Herzegovina history.
Institute and Museum Bitola
Institute and Museum Bitola implemented “Learn about us” in which 100 children from Bitola and villages in the region 9-14 years old too part, actively learning, researching and discussing with the elderly persons on topics related to tangible and intangible heritage from Bitola region. The children were involved in tasks prepared by curators and teachers. Project activities focused on 1. Museum as a classroom- guided tours by the curators; 2. Lectures in the schools – by professors and teachers; 3. Lectures by the responsible people in religious temples. Visits to 10 monuments with on site lessons were organized. Final event was organized for the presentation and exhibition of children artwork, awarding the best work.
In the period 2010 – 2014, 27 museum projects were supported in the Western Balkan region through the work of the Foundation Cultural Heritage without Borders. Access the list of the projects here.