Culture is considered an intangible good which every person, disregarding their physical, psychic, racial or gender condition, needs to have access to. Museums democratise themselves thanks to new technologies, by suppressing all kind of barriers, helping and enabling both access and use to people whose physical and sensorial conditions are impaired.

Museums adapted for all

Visually impaired people

The Joan Miró Foundation (Barcelona, Spain), for instance lays stress on learning, understanding and getting emotions through touch. For that reason they present their miniature building scale model to visually impaired people. Moreover, almost all museums currently allow the touch of sculptures using gloves, so that anyone who cannot enjoy them through sight is able to touch and take delight in them thanks to touch.

The Met Museum in New York, for example, was the first museum in offering the latest 3D printers technology in order that blind people may keep a scale model of the works exhibited in the gallery as a souvenir.

Visually impaired people can also rely on different conveniences within facilities, such as acoustic signs, objects, paintings and sculpture labels in Braille, or audio guides in a variety of languages so that visitors may absorb all the culture surrounding them.

People with physical disabilities

Most museums are located in old buildings, and access is sometimes problematic for people with reduced mobility. In last years, great investments have been carried out to enable free access to all, suppressing the existing architectural barriers. Most museums in the world have now access ramps, banisters and doors with a stipulated passing width, complying with the current legislation in order to enable easy access. Besides, automatic doors have been installed to avoid excessive efforts and trouble when accessing facilities, since they have automatic opening and closing systems, as well as motion and presence detectors.

There are “telepresence” robots at the San Francisco Young Museum or the Mountain View Computer History Museum (California), in order to guide visitors through exhibitions, no matter which their physical disabilities are.

People with hearing impairment

Technology is also a big help for people with hearing problems. The Roald Dahl Museum in the United Kingdom makes use of the Signly App to benefit these people from a guided visit in sign language on their own mobile device.

Museums in 21st Century search for people’s environmental integration, without no one excluded, assuring the free access to culture defined in the laws of almost every contry in the world.