Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

Easy language as a key to the exhibition experience

The Salzburg Museum in Salzburg, Austria, offers text and information about their exhibitions and collections in easy language. The museum first implemented this service during its 2016 exhibition titled Bishop, Emperor, Everyman, which allowed many people with intellectual disabilities to participate in cultural life in an independent way. The service has become a standard for the museum.

“I used to be very disorientated when visiting a museum. Now I can read and understand the text on my own, without anyone´s help. This makes me very proud.”

Johannes HollwegerA Salzburg Museum visitor
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Easy language as a key to the exhibition experience
Organisation:Salzburg Museum
Country
of Implementation
Salzburg, Austria

FACTS & FIGURES

  • A study has shown that the easy language has been used by 49 per cent of the test group.
  • Since easy languge was first introduced in 2016 there have been 11 accessible exhibitions.
  • The number of visitors rose from 49,845 in 2015 to 95,741 in 2016.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

Complicated and complex texts are a barrier for people with intellectual disabilities, exlcluding them from independent participation in a cultural life.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

The Salzburg Museum is making their exhibitions accessible for people with intellectual disabilities by translating their introductory and accompanying texts into easy, accessible language. With this service, the museum seeks to make a statement regarding the instituation’s fully inclusive nature, whereby the easy language text is not only for a minority group but is an integrated part of the museum experience for the general public.
Museum visitors reading the descriptions in the easy language.The innovative aspect of the practice is that the easy language text is not an additional service but is part of the regular text of the exhibitions. The Salzburg Museum was concerned about the quality of their texts, and has used a text in A2 (language level) format, which they first had tested and verified by a group of people with intellectual disabilities. In a second step, the text was certified with the CAPITO trademark (meaning “I understand,” developed by the company Atempo) for easy language.
The easy language text has removed intellectutal barriers for people with and without disabilities and has broadened the appeal of the museum. The discussions and reactions of the general public have led to publicity of the topic and a clarification of the subject. A study has shown that the easy language has been used by 49 per cent of the test group.

OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING

A digital handbook has been created summarizing the most important facts and experiences, which serves as a guideline for other institutions. Moreover, there are publications and contributions at conferences and workshops Visitors standing in front on the museum entrance.throughout Austria for other museums that wish to follow the Salzburg Museum’s example. Currently, the muesum texts are evaluated by the University of Salzburg/Mozarteum as part of the science and arts studies programme.
Every museum is different and each instiution has to adapt to using easy language. The work of the Salzburg Museum, including its handbook, makes it easier for other cultural institutions to transition towards accessibility.
Currently, 80 per cent of the funding comes from the government, and 20 per cent from the museum’s own budget.
FACTSHEET

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