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Inclusive Experience in Museums. Unique Opportunity to take the Experience of the Museum-Monument “St. Isaac’s Cathedral”.

17.12.2019

On December 13, 2019 at the “Sholokhov Center” of the National Sholokhov Museum-Reserve (Rostov-on-Don) the exhibition “St. Isaac's Cathedral. Three centuries in the heart of St. Petersburg” was opened. This exhibition project significantly expands the possibilities for interacting with visitors - it can be "seen" by the visually impaired and blind. In addition to unique exhibits, many of which are presented to the general public for the first time, the exposition is supplemented with a model of St. Isaac's Cathedral and relief and graphic aids that allow people with vision loss to tactfully read information. This is a rare opportunity to literally come in contact with images of elements of the interior of the St. Petersburg church without leaving Rostov-on-Don.

As part of the opening of the exhibition, the Sholokhov Center hosted a round table on “Inclusive Experience in the Museum”. Director of the St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Yuri Mudrov, noted in his welcoming remarks that when creating an accessible environment in the Museum-monument “St. Isaac’s Cathedral”, it was possible to maintain a balance in which the cathedral, as a historical monument of world art, can be equipped with the latest technologies to ensure its availability for a wide range of visitors. For several years, St. Isaac's Cathedral has been working to adapt the exhibition space for the blind and visually impaired. Anatoly Shariy, head of the Limited Mobility Visitors Sector of the St. Petersburg St. Isaac's Cathedral, spoke about its specifics. A comprehensive approach to inclusion, including training museum staff, establishing relationships with public organizations representing the interests of persons with disabilities, cooperation with cultural institutions with specially trained specialists, allows you to create a comfortable environment for visitors with disabilities and implement interesting projects to bring them to cultural values. The Museum of St. Isaac’s Cathedral has successfully launched and is currently operating excursion routes for blind and visually impaired visitors “From Feelings to Feelings” (Museum-Monument “St. Isaac's Cathedral”), “See the Invisible” (Museum-Monument “Savior on Spilled Blood”), the annual large-scale event "Children draw in the temple", various classes on subscription are held.

The Sholokhov Museum-Reserve is also actively working to create an accessible environment for visitors with disabilities. Lidia Slyusarenko, coordinator of the program “Inclusion in the Museum,” spoke about the technical capabilities available at the facilities for receiving this category of visitors, training employees, existing programs and master classes for children with ASD and mental disorders. Interaction with children with disabilities.

Many years of fruitful cooperation connects the Sholokhov-Center with the Rostov City Public Organization of Disabled People “Nadezhda”. Galina Dudko, a member of the organization’s board, expressed her gratitude to the employees of the Sholokhov-Center for the opportunity to participate in the cultural events held at the Sholokhov-Center, noted how popular the exhibitions are, adapted for the blind and visually impaired visitors.

The inclusive experience gained by the staff of the Museum-Monument “St. Isaac's Cathedral” is very valuable for the Sholokhov Museum-Reserve, in which the adaptation of the museum space is planned, including for blind visitors.

All participants of the round table became the first spectators of the new exhibition. Along with genuine masterpieces from St. Isaac’s Cathedral, exhibits specially adapted for people with visual impairment arrived to help them get acquainted with the architectural and artistic decoration of the cathedral. Among them are tactile mosaics, relief-graphic manuals and a model of St. Isaac's Cathedral. With the help of such exhibits, every Monday, on the museum’s day off, visitors with disabilities will be received at the Sholokhov-Center.

 

Lydia Slyusarenko