Das Kölnische Stadtmuseum als neuer Maßstab in Deutschland

Taktil gedruckter gelber Stern. Zugängliches Exponat mit Braillebeschriftung im Kölnischen Stadtmuseum

Am 23. März 2024 wurde das Kölnische Stadtmuseum im Zentrum Kölns in seinen neuen Ausstellungsräumen (Haus Sauer) eröffnet. Es ist, meines Erachtens nach, das Museum mit der inklusivsten Ausstellung Deutschlands und setzt damit neue Maßstäbe. Durch ein fragloses Selbstverständnis von inklusiver Ausstellungskonzeption liegt die Latte um mehrere Stufen höher.

„Zwar kann man inzwischen als State of the Art bezeichnen, dass Museen pro Themengebiet oder Raum eine sogenannte inklusive Station anbieten. Genau genommen ist diese Herangehensweise aber alles andere als inklusiv, da sie auf exklusiven Wegen zu exklusiven Stationen exklusive Inhalte zur Verfügung stellt. Diese verfolgen meist nicht einmal das gleiche Vermittlungsziel wie der Rest der Ausstellung, geschweige denn, dass sie dies erreichen.“
Steffen Zimmermann

Vorbereitung und Beratung

Hier, im Kölnischen Stadtmuseum sind wir einen grundsätzlicheren Weg gegangen. Dieser ist entscheidend für die hohe ästhetisch inklusive Qualität. Meine Beratungsleistung zu allen Inklusionsfragen wurde sehr früh in Anspruch genommen. Bereits in der Konzeption und in enger Zusammenarbeit mit den Kuratoren und Szenografen haben wir die gesamte Liste der Exponate aus dem inklusiven Blickwinkel (Also »Wie machen wir es besser für alle Besuchenden?«) betrachtet und besprochen, Möglichkeiten spontan eruiert, wie und ob das jeweilige Objekt inklusiv dargestellt werden könnte – und dann nach diesen Maßstäben vorläufig ausgewählt.

So sind viele Exponat raus der Vitrine gekommen, andere ersetzt, hinzugekauft, als Repliken erstellt oder gedruckt worden, um sie frei und offen zugänglich zu machen. Wir haben entschieden, welche Grafiken didaktisch zielführend umsetzbar für alle sind, welche Texte und Objekte und welche Fotos und Gemälde. Es war weniger ein „Was heben wir hervor?“ sondern vielmehr „Worauf müssen wir leider verzichten?“.

Inklusive Ausführungsleistung

Nachdem die finale Entscheidung getroffen war, war es auch meine Aufgabe gemeinsam mit den Gestaltern von neo.studio, die blindendidaktische Gestaltung der Objekte zu entwickeln und von allen ausgewählten Objekten und Grafiken eine taktile Ebene und Beschriftung (auch in Pyramidenschrift und Braille) zu erstellen und schließlich mit meinem Druckereipartner zu produzieren.

Außerdem habe ich ein stringentes und intuitiv nutzbares taktiles Bodenleitsystem entwickelt, das sich auch ästhetisch hervorragend einfügt. Die Audios und Videos sind selbstverständlich mit dem Leitsystem und Zusatzinformationen abgestimmt. Der Kassentresen ist mit einer induktiven Höranlage ausgestattet. Der MultiMediaGuide bietet natürlich auch Videos in Deutscher Gebärdensprache. Die Beschilderung ist diskriminierungsfrei. Die schwellenlose Zugänglichkeit der gesamten Ausstellung ist gewährleistet. 

Angebote für blinde Besucher:innen

Für blinde Menschen gibt es im neuen Museum besonders viele Möglichkeiten, die Stadtgeschichte zu erleben. Die Bodenleitlinien leiten schon vom Bürgersteig zur Eingangstür, zur Kasse und zur Garderobe. Dann durch alle Ausstellungsbereiche und natürlich zu den sanitären Einrichtungen. Auf allen Stockwerken finden sich zur Orientierung taktile Übersichtspläne. Die wichtigsten Texte in jedem Ausstellungsbereich sind zusätzlich in Brailleschrift ausgeführt, auch Grafiken sind teilweise taktil erfahrbar. Bei vielen Exponaten gilt explizit: „Anfassen erlaubt!“. Über den MultiMediaGuide ist zudem eine speziell auf Menschen mit Sehbehinderungen abgestimmte Führung abrufbar. Menschen mit Blindheit und Sehbehinderung, die einen Assistenzhund haben, dürfen diesen mit ins Museum bringen.

„Die Zusammenarbeit mit den Szenografen und Ausstellungsdesignern neo.studio Berlin und den Kuratoren Stefan Lewejohann und Sascha Pries war von Anfang an auf Augenhöhe und dem gemeinsamen Wunsch nach einem barrierefreien Ort für alle geprägt. So entstand in zwei Jahren ein für mich wunderbar umfangreiches Projekt. Von mir wurden neben der Inklusionsberatung und dem Bodenleitsystem rund 166 (!) Objekte hergestellt – alle taktil – vom Hinweistäfelchen über Pläne, Grafiken und Tafeln bis zum Exponat. Das ist ungewöhnlich viel auf 700 Quadratmetern mit insgesamt 650 Objekten.“
Steffen Zimmermann

Das Kölnische Stadtmuseum schreibt:

Ein Stadtmuseum für alle

Bei der Neukonzeption der Dauerausstellung waren Inklusion und Barrierefreiheit zentrale Ziele. Sowohl bei der räumlichen Gestaltung als auch bei der inhaltlichen Vermittlung orientierte sich das Museumsteam dabei an zeitgemäßen Standards, um allen Menschen einen unvergesslichen Museumsbesuch zu ermöglichen. Die Ausstellungsbereiche sind durchweg barrierefrei erreichbar. Blinde und sehbeeinträchtigte Personen werden über eine Blindenspur zu wichtigen Objekten und Inhalten geführt. Bei einigen ausgewählten Exponaten gilt für sehbeeinträchtigte Menschen explizit: „Anfassen erlaubt!“ Darüber hinaus wurden für Besucher*innen mit Seheinschränkungen zahlreiche „Hands-on“-Stationen konzipiert. Alle Haupttexte in der Ausstellung sind zusätzlich in Braille-Schrift angelegt. Darüber hinaus gibt es taktile Grafiken; auch das beliebte Stadtmodell macht mit einem haptischen Vermittlungselement die Topografie des mittelalterlichen Köln erlebbar. Der MultiMedia-Guide bietet zahlreiche weitere barrierefreie Funktionen.

Quelle: Pressemitteilung Kölnisches Stadtmuseum vom 22. März 2024

Die neue Adresse:

Kölnisches Stadtmuseum
Minoritenstrasse 13
50667 Köln

Postanschrift und Verwaltungseingang:
Kolumbahof 3

Öffnungszeiten

Dienstag: 10 bis 20 Uhr

Mittwoch bis Sonntag: 10 bis 17 Uhr

1. Donnerstag im Monat: 10 bis 22 Uhr (außer an Feiertagen)

An Feiertagen (wie Karfreitag o. Ostermontag):  10 bis 17 Uhr

How to avoid additional costs for inclusion

I have been regularly involved with cost issues for over 13 years and have implemented many projects. Most of the consulting and design projects have been for museums, but also in the wider education sector or in architecture and product development. In recent years, the implementation of inclusive goals has gained momentum. As a rule, it succeeds best where diversity is demanded as a matter of course by one decision-maker person in the company or institution with commitment. The reaction of the uninvolved is quite openly or in thought almost always “ well, for these few people we should spend so much money? Who pays the costs for inclusion?“.

I have an answer for that. It’s below, but you have to read the few lines in between to interpret it. I thought about it for a long time and finally found the clue to the problem within the question itself. After all, inclusion is not actually in question because of the cost, but, and this is my analysis, because it is not taken for granted. By „taken for granted,“ I mean something like laying power lines when you build a house. You use it to make sure the building is accessible, in some sense barrier-free, through lighting – especially if you’re going to use it at night. And you use it to operate your assistive devices, such as washing machines and heating, for people whose own energy is not sufficient for all tasks. So without electricity, the people who use the building would be very handicapped.

For the following reasons, among others, Germany is probably also in last place in the EU comparison when it comes to the implementation of the specifications by the EU and the UN. We usually don’t live with our parents or grandparents in the same house and experience every day how exhausting it is to get old once our legs and eyes don’t work anymore. We did not go to the same class with the (10%!) children who were and are sent to „special“ schools simply because of physical characteristics. That’s why we don’t know them and aren’t friends with them. That is why we have not learned to consider that they also are part of us and that it must be indisputable that all people can live as self-determined and cohabited as possible. We have not learned this. We have to make up for it, and we have a lot of catching up to do.

Now to the answer promised above, where does the money come from?
You will find it in the total budget (and not even hidden). Here’s how: When you cost a project, you require all service providers and internal project participants to „think of the power lines for your house up front.“ You will rightly expect this of all professionals in every trade involved in building a house. It’s unthinkable to do otherwise.
Expect it just as naturally that your partners think inclusively and with everyone in mind; that they already set the course in the conception and – if necessary with the involvement of consultants and experts – revise the non-inclusive ideas, because insufficient, once again to find better solutions.
If your calculation exceeds the budget as a result, the budget is set too low or elaborate creative solutions together to make changes to material, scope, size, execution, duration, etc., in order to achieve your goal.
That’s the way it’s always been. In the past, however, it was usually because you didn’t take various things into account (see above). You will all agree that human rights are non-negotiable, but maybe other things are.

And it works! With fantastic and unique results that inspire project participants and users. I know, because I have accompanied some teams in their work to the goal with team meetings, workshops and conception as well as consulting.

More visitors to the museum

It is absolutely true that art, culture and education are topics that do not excite or interest all people equally. Some are hard to reach – despite educational missions, outreach and outbounding. But if we look at those we can interest and perhaps even inspire, why do so many never or rarely come to our buildings? We are talking about over a third (!) of society here – what prevents these people from going to the museum?

In fact, questioning the following points will help here:

Easy and understandable way to the museum for everyone.
Very, very clear optical and tactile wayfinding
Detailed advance information about contents and accessibility
Easy, pleasant, non-academic language
Accessible exhibits or optional tactile models/replicas and explanations in large print and Braille,
No steps, stairs, or other barriers for the elderly and people on wheels
Make all information available through at least two channels, namely never exclusively audio guide or exclusively text information
These aspects, and a little more, are important to consider as a museum or exhibition hall. In my work with such institutions, we have come up with wonderful solutions that don’t break budgets but do break down barriers for a third of society.

Finally a standardized and tactilely and visually understandable symbol for escape routes and emergency exits for tactile plans.

No question, the challenge is immense and so is the responsibility. An internationally understandable symbol was sought that speaks for itself tactilely and also visually. Orientation plans are a shared aid for both sighted and blind people. Particularly in an emergency, information must be grasped quickly. Until now, a sign has been missing from industrial standards and current draft standards. Thus, we have developed a new sign in recent weeks and submitted it to the commission.

 

Symbol für Fluchtweg Notausgang taktile Pläne
The possible new international optical and tactile symbol for tactile orientation plans in buildings.

It plays a significant role for the speed if symbols are already learned and do not have to be reinterpreted. The symbol for the emergency exit and escape route must indicate a clear direction and it must be possible to distinguish it from the ordinary exit. Even illiterate people and people speaking foreign languages should have no difficulty with this.

Thus, we have used the X for “ exit“, „out“, „away“ as the lowest common denominator, and the large directional arrow on green, which is also known from the visual world. In the application in the plan, the symbol is placed rotated in the direction of escape. The white elements are tactile and the green area is to be printed visually only. The minimum height is 12 mm (green frame)!

One of the most inclusive museums in Germany is being planned

Since the beginning of 2022, I have been consulting on the reconstruction and the conception and implementation of the new permanent exhibition with neo.studio neumann schneider Ausstellungsarchitekten for the Cologne City Museum. In many parts, concerning the several hundred tactile and inclusive components, I am also involved in realization.

The exhibition content is made accessible through all media and senses. A multimedia guide with several specialized tracks leads through the museum. Exhibition content – from A-text to C-text is simply worded and available in Braille and audio and large print with excellent contrast on walls and tables. In addition, there is subtitling of videos, audio description of videos and objects, videos in DGS (German Sign Language) and the most important info also in pyramid writing. Of course, a floor guidance system leads through the exhibition. This is both a visual guide for the sighted and tactile for the blind visitors. On each floor there is a floor map that is visually and tactilely appealing. Very many of the exhibits are free to access and, of course, may be viewed with the hands. All floors are accessible by elevator.

The contract with the City of Cologne includes consulting on the selection of exhibits and the implementation of content according to inclusive aspects and curatorial objectives. Examination of the educational goals for feasibility. Concepts and drafts for alternative forms of presentation. Broadening and balancing the individual experience as part of an overall experience with all visitors. Consulting with the designers and architects involved and designing inclusive forms of presentation. This includes texts, graphics and alternative presentation of artwork. Implementing Braille and Profiled Lettering on exhibits and panels.

Rad also (German):

„Die Erarbeitung der neuen Dauerausstellung war ein spannender, intensiver Prozess” von Kurator Sascha Pries

„Wir wollen Geschichte erlebbar machen” – Ein Interview mit Silvia Rückert

Guest column by a blind art connoisseur

Anette Bach

Can art be comprehended?

A Rodin exhibition at the Folkwang Museum in Essen! For me an event! The years of my life when I was able to see were characterized by joy and interest in art. I loved drawing, but also paintings and sculpture. Even though I can no longer see, my interest in, I would even say my need for art has not changed. So I go to Essen. I remember Rodin’s works well. The famous „Thinker,“ „The Burghers of Calais,“ and first „The KUSS.“ What would the exhibition bring? Pure frustration! I was not allowed to touch anything.

I did not like to believe it at all. What could I destroy in stone sculptures if I only touched them with my hands? I was not allowed to touch anything even through a silk cloth that was laid on. I begged, scolded, argued. The acidic air of the Ruhr, the flies, spiders and dust would surely pose a greater threat to the integrity of the artwork. Nothing to do!

I think that’s not the way to do it! I too know, of course, that it would not be reasonable to open all museum and exhibition contents to every groping hand. But there is much more possible than is conceded. Certainly, I have often succeeded in organizing guided tours in which the showcases were opened after all or the boundary grids were pushed aside. But that was always a matter of luck and depended on the good will and high-handedness of the respective guide. I would like to see a change in thinking. All exhibitors should be obliged to make their exhibition accessible to visually impaired people. There are concepts for this and more can be developed. Exhibitors should have to have convincing arguments for what is not possible. There will always be such things, but it must not happen that we are forced into the role of supplicants, persuaders or rioters who demand something that is supposedly impossible.

If a fairy godmother ever came my way, I would wish that perhaps every state would create a facility that is chock full of models. There are so many magnificent, exciting and incredible things that people have created: The Inca’s buildings, the Taj Mahal, the Sydney Opera House or the Elbphilharmonie. Even if I could go everywhere and be allowed to walk around and touch everything, most of it would still not be accessible. I wouldn’t even recognize the David that Michelangelo created if I were allowed to climb around on the five-meter-high marble structure.

In the age of scanners and 3D printers, making models is probably just a matter of will.

My doorbell rings. Do fairies come through the front door?


About the author
Anette Bach heads the Hesse district group of the DVBS.

The 66-year-old organizes regular events on current topics and excursions with the leadership team, whose dates are published at dvbs-online.de and which are also open to interested guests.

The article was first published in Horus 2/2018 / Accessible Culture – Marburg Contributions to the Integration of the Blind and Visually Impaired. It was published here with the kind permission of the author.

Lichtenberg Museum: Comprehensive inclusion consultation for new permanent exhibition

Medienraum Lichtenberg Museum

What was Lichtenberg yesterday? What is it today? And how are the two connected? With its permanent exhibition, the Museum Lichtenberg invites you on a journey of discovery.

Thanks to Julia Novak, Dr. Tim Weber, Dr. Dirk Moldt and Dr. Thomas Thiele, a museum for everyone has developed. Julia Novak: „It wants to appeal to everyone. That’s why we avoid barriers, structurally, in terms of content and language. We designed the museum to be inclusive, interactive and participatory.“

My contribution as a consultant was to introduce those involved in the project to the many possibilities of inclusive conception and design even before the planning stage. The selection of exhibits, the display, tactile fonts, Braille texts and tactile graphics, the orientation plan and the floor guidance system also with the general visitor guidance were affected. With ideas, praise but also with criticism the agency buerojolas created a fantastic exhibition worth visiting.

Lichtenberg Museum

From the first conversation on it was thought inclusively. The curator Julia Novak and the project manager Dr. Tim Weber and Dr. Thomas Thiele approached me with joy and enthusiasm for a „Museum for All“. Already in the first round we created free space for new ideas with all participants. All those in charge and those carrying out the work were carried along and sorted out all their thoughts on content, design, orientation and conveyance based on the holistic view of inclusion and Design for All. With great results and on a large scale. While not everything is perfect here in Berlin’s „Museum Lichtenberg“, we have created a great museum where everyone, yes everyone, takes their part.

Lichtenberg Museum

Lichtenberg Museum

Lichtenberg Museum

 

 

Outdoor exhibition in the "Naturpark Südgelände" with a haptic experience

© Grün Berlin: Frank Sperling

If you want to inspire all users, let them grasp! What is essential for blind people is also a popular added value for sighted visitors of all ages. If tactile elements are part of the exhibition, all visitors feel attracted and their hands wander exploratively over the instructive content.

Only exhibitions with tactile and three-dimensional exhibits meet the requirements of „Design for All“, „Good Design“ (Dieter Rams) and the legal requirements of accessibility.

In Berlin’s „Naturpark Südgelände“ I was able to support the senate-owned Grün Berlin GmbH with my consulting assignment and thus launch, constructively accompany and successfully conclude a fantastic exhibition project for the users and for the client. Already during the tendering and conception phase, the course was set for a fully integrated implementation. Here, the question of how to now add accessibility was not asked after the fact, but rather a coherent and thus aesthetically flawless design concept could be developed.

The exhibition includes over a dozen panels on local flora, fauna and technology. Worth a visit for all! Have fun!

All photos: © Green Berlin/Frank Sperling

© Grün Berlin: Frank Sperling
Exhibit panels of the didactic open-air exhibition with tactile elements of the nature park.
© Grün Berlin: Frank Sperling
A small child enthusiastically discovers the tactile model of the long-eared owl, a symbol of nature conservation (artist Stephan Hüsch)
© Grün Berlin: Frank Sperling
Tables with tactile overview map and technical sights of the nature park
© Grün Berlin: Frank Sperling
The hands of a blind woman explore a tactile graphic on the sound production of grasshoppers

 

 

Why museums must adopt a culture of accessibility

Beyond compliance with legal requirements: Museums must consider accessibility and inclusion as a permanent obligation. Access to social heritage and culture can be considered a fundamental right of all people, regardless of their identity or possibilities.

Museum professionals have a duty to facilitate access and make appropriate adjustments. Access is not limited to the needs of people with physical disabilities. Some groups have needs that may not be seen. All forms of disability, including reduced mobility, visual or hearing impairments, learning difficulties, limited strength or mobility, and language and communication difficulties must be taken into account.

Respecting equal access and inclusion in museums goes beyond compliance: it is about doing the „right thing“ now.

It is about ensuring that equal access is embedded in the culture and structures of the organisation and should not be seen as an „extra service“.

The responsibility thus assumed is also forward-looking and cost-effective for the museum. By understanding the needs of visitors and ensuring that these are taken into account in the preparation of the visit and from the start of new projects, no corrections, adaptations or parallel worlds are necessary.

#goinclusive can help museums to make their collections, buildings, programmes and services accessible to the entire public and has done so in many cases over the years. #goinclusive has supported numerous projects with creative and innovative approaches to improve access and promote inclusive practice in museums. Over the years, we have consistently pursued innovative ways to break down barriers and expand the participation of different audiences and visitors.

Simple, cost-effective things you can do include: Forward planning. User involvement and participation to find solutions. Working with organizations that support people with disabilities. Training and raising staff awareness of equality and diversity, including disability awareness training. We would be happy to advise and support you in these steps towards the realisation of your projects.

Ankündigung: Treffen Sie mich auf der SightCity im Mai in FFM

Die SightCity ist die größte internationale Fachmesse für Blinden- und Sehbehinderten-Hilfsmittel.

Ich werde voraussichtlich am Donnerstag 28. und Freitag 29. Mai dort sein und freue mich auch auf Verabredungen. Kontaktieren Sie mich im voraus, damit ich mir die Zeit für Sie nehmen kann.

Sie findet statt vom 27. bis 29. Mai 2020 im Kap Europa, dem Kongresshaus der Messe Frankfurt in Frankfurt am Main.

Consulting services for the redesign of the exhibitions in the Museum Lichtenberg

Ansicht Museum LichtenbergA reference library on Berlin and regional history and a local history archive are attached to the museum.
In addition, programmes on district history, the preservation of culture and tradition, as well as museum education projects and research activities with and for children and young people or groups of schoolchildren are offered.

The contract for expert consulting and supporting planning and implementation includes:

  1. Expert consulting regarding inclusion and the corresponding pedagogy during conception, curation and design.
  2. Expert evaluation and consultancy on drafts, concepts and plans for accessibility and inclusion. If necessary, recommendations for the improvement of accessibility or the achievement of inclusion.
  3. Assessment of concepts and drafts by representatives of the user groups and feedback workshop to check results. 
Expenses for management, support, organisation, accounting etc.
  4. Final approval of furniture, architecture, exhibits, guidance system, design etc. in terms of accessibility and inclusion. If necessary deficiency report.

Consulting mandate for the new construction of the VBG BGW Prevention Centre in Hamburg

Architektursimulation

(Foto: Auer Weber Assoziierte)

The Ippolito Fleitz Group GmbH Identity Architects commissioned Steffen Zimmermann as a consultant for accessibility for the planning and design of the new centre of excellence in Hafencity of the two associations VBG and BGW

The new centre is to be a beacon project for accessibility and future and trend-setting preventive work.

The Berufsgenossenschaft für Gesundheitsdienst und Wohlfahrtspflege (BGW) and the Verwaltungs-Berufsgenossenschaft (VBG) are the building owners and operators in Hamburg HafenCity. From 2022, they intend to launch new qualification, event and consulting services there, among other things, and make it possible to experience both healthy and safe working in theme worlds. The two associations are two of the largest in Germany.

Inclusion is a priority right from the conceptual approach

The building is to be highly accessible and exemplary in the way that training institutions can be designed to be inclusive. In addition to model workplaces, the planned Prevention Centre will feature theme worlds and exhibitions that make the prevention of occupational accidents, occupational diseases and work-related health hazards tangible. The services will also be available in part to the general public. In addition, individual advice and training for insured persons with work-related health problems is planned. My expertise is particularly evident in the orientation and guidance system as well as in the information services, whether digital, passive or active. This also applies to the revision of the house font for a tactile typeface, which is used in the guidance system as a raised relief font. Furthermore, all elements of the system are equipped with Braille (braille for blind visitors) and high-contrast large print. Orientation in the building and guidance through the building is supported by a floor guidance system. Everything is wheelchair accessible and conveniently accessible for people of all ages.

Fachliche Beratung bei der Ausschreibung der Ausstellungserweiterung im Berliner Südgelände

Das Bild zeigt eine handmodellierte Waldohreule mit spezieller Haptik für blinde Betrachter

Die Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Verkehr und Klimaschutz im Referat Naturschutz, Landschaftsplanung, Forstwesen beauftragte mich mit der fachlichen Beratung und Unterstützung bei Planung und Durchführung der Barrierefreiheit für das Pilotprojekt Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände.

Was bietet eine Begleitung und welche Leistungen bringe ich als Experte ein?

  • Erörterung verschiedener taktiler Produktionstechniken und deren Auswirkung auf die gestalterische Umsetzung.
  • Diskussion bzw. gemeinsame Herausarbeitung des zu erreichenden Ziels (Didaktik, Zielgruppen, Ideale, Kompromisse, Ästhetik, Nachhaltigkeit etc.)
  • Zeitplanung der Arbeitsschritte und der Produktion
  • Konzeptionelle und Inhaltliche Vorbereitung
  • Entwurf eines darauf ausgerichteten Leistungsverzeichnisses
  • Auswahl der Bieter und Prüfung der Sachkenntnisse der Bieter im Bereich Braille und Produktion, Vorschlagsliste
  • Ausarbeitung der Kriterien für die Wertung der Bieter-Angebote
  • Begleitung im Bieterverfahren, z.B. Beantworten von Fachfragen hinsichtlich Barrierefreiheit und geeigneter Techniken.
  • Begleitung im Bieterverfahren, z.B. Auswerten der technischen oder konzeptionellen Inhalte der Angebote, ggf. neuer Zielabgleich aufgrund neuer Sachlage.