Museum for All was founded in 2012 as a European network which promotes access to culture using a collaborative, inclusive approach. The organisations behind the initiative were ArteConTacto and the Design for All Foundation. But many things have changed since then and we decided to relaunch the project in 2020/21, with a new partner, called Tothomweb, with a new philosophy, and a new look. This will help us to make Museums For All ready for the new challenges of a more diverse, more responsible, and more connected future.
Museum for All - Relaunch
The last months have been difficult for all of us, and especially for those who work in culture. Most European museums are reopening for their public. But will they be Museums for all?
We are not only talking about the classic categories of disabilities. What about free wifi, open data policy, gluten-free and vegan food options, bicycle parking, gender-neutral language, and childcare?
Most big institutions have already learned the lesson and adapted to new visitor profiles, on site and online. To help the many thousands of smaller museums all over Europe, we have founded Museum For All, an initiative that started in Spain and Austria 10 years ago. But many things have changed since then. So we will start from scratch again. With the people and their needs, and by collaborating with other websites that already have the data.
Yet, we will not talk about Dis, but rather about different abilities, and highlight what we CAN experience, our focus in Access Preferences.
Think of the Louvre: A great example of an inclusive museum that even has even adapted our terminology and calls itself a museum for all. They allow guide dogs, they have children’s’ programs, free Wifi, audio guides, wheelchairs, and many food options. But to find all this, you have to look in many places.
With our new database you will be able to find all this in one place and compare it to other museums in your region. And plan your visit. Open, transparent, accessible, inclusive, collaborative, friendly, responsible and fair. This is the new Museum For All.
10 years of experience, now with a new approach. Be part of it!
The core of MFA is an online database of museums, which brings together information from the websites of selected cultural institutions in more than 30 European countries. The search engine, which is easy to use and adapted to different user requirements, allows potential visitors to compare information from different venues.
The aim of the database is to provide information about museums’ facilities so that potential visitors can inform and prepare themselves beforehand. This information is organised into general information for the visitor (or group), wayfinding and access issues, available multisensory experiences (visual, acoustic and tactile), and additional facilities such as childcare, free Wifi, or catering for specific dietary requirements. We also connect to the museums’ social media, online collections and visitor statistics, as well as help the institutions publish their mission statements, environmental strategies, website accessibility and Open Data policy. MFA is also a place for debate, collective reflection and knowledge sharing between professionals in culture, accessibility and Design for All. Our aim is to identify and respond to the needs and expectations of visitors, prompted by the demands of a society in constant evolution.
But many things have changed in the last years. Black Lives Matter, MeToo, Covid, to name just a few. We see the decolonialisation of museums and restitution of objects, social engagement with local communities, and more online visits than ever. Museums in Europe are taking notice of a demand for a responsible, transparent and fair relationship between the institution and its visitors. So we decided to relaunch the project in 2020/21, with a new partner, a new philosophy, and a new look.Museum visitors (online and on site) will now be able to interact directly with the database, to rate museums, enter information, contact our team (or directly the museum) and even discuss the evaluation criteria with us. We are aware that website is not perfect yet, as we are still working on this relaunch. Yet, we are not afraid to share our vision and be open for critique, in a transparent, open and fair approach, while we are working on a common code of conduct and a responsible information culture for the participating museums.
Let's make Museum for All a reality together!