The Magritte Museum in Brussels has become the first museum in Europe to offer visioguides in three sign languages – the sign language of French-speaking Belgium (LSFB), Flemish Sign Language (VGT), and International Sign Language (ISL). The visioguides are touch screen and take visitors on a tour of 21 works by René Magritte. The guides are subtitled so that they can be used by all visitors to the museum. According to the website:
For fifteen years Educateam tries to make the collections of the Royal Museums more accessible by providing guided tours in sign language and by the well-known narrative walks. The sign language program Museum on Scale, part of Educateam, makes you experience the Magritte Museum in a radically different way during the “Poetic walks”. These take place in utter silence and are thus accessible for the hearing and the deaf. Launching of the visioguide is a new step in the effort to offer a greater accessibility. From now on, any deaf visitor can visit the Magritte Museum unexpectedly and completely independent. This tool positions the museum again in the heart of Europe and meets the needs of deaf foreign visitors.
The popularity of smart phones and tablets means that museums are no doubt looking to replace audio guides with a more up-to-date system. New technology provides a great opportunity to increase the accessibility of museums by providing multilingual content in sign languages as well as spoken languages. Congratulations to Magritte Museum for this initiative – I hope others follow your lead!
If you know of other good practice examples, you can submit them to the Language Rich Europe website and share them with our network!
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