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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Space filled with sounds and sensations

The first studio for people with special needs opens at the Donetsk Regional Museum
18 December, 2013 - 18:12

In this case the word “studio” refers to not as a specific room or a building, but rather a museum as a whole, which has recently become more understandable for people with special needs.

The unique program of interaction with exhibition components will let people not only see certain objects better, but also touch or even hear them. Special panels that were created specially for the Donetsk Regional Museum allow visitors to choose the form of interaction with the items on display.

Thus, when a person comes up to a stand with mounted animals (local species), they will be able to touch them, listen to their voices, and also read some brief information typed on a plate in braille. Additional light is turned on for those with poor eyesight, and volume control allows adjusting the sound for those who have hearing disabilities. Some panels are provided with screens that broadcast information on certain aspects of the museum’s collection.

“There is nothing like this in Ukraine, and there are not so many analogs in the world as well,” says Viacheslav Vereshchahin, director of the Dynamic Models laboratory. “When creating this system, we took into consideration specific features of this museum and its collection of exhibits.”

The flexibility of installed equipment should be mentioned, since it can convey not only tactile sensation, but the spirit of the whole epoch. For example, in the “Yuzivka” exhibition hall, the theme of which is the history of Donetsk, visitors with special needs can delve into the atmosphere of the street of that time by hearing the clatter of hooves, door bells, clock ticking, and even the sound of writing on paper with a quill.

Also, developers paid attention to the educational process. With the help of an interactive pointer, a guide can hold quizzes or even full-value lessons. Moreover, there is a specially assigned part of the museum where visitors are able to realize their artistic potential.

The replication of this system is not discussed at the moment. The Donetsk Regional Museum won the grant of the Foundation for Development of Ukraine, which financed the project.

“We have nurtured this idea for a long time and are very happy to finally realize it,” says Olena Hluboka, head of the department for scientific and educational activities. “We hope that the new system will attract new visitors to the museum and will let them explore the world more fully.”

By Oleksandr YERMOCHENKO, Donetsk
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