Musée des Beaux-Arts de Limoges

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Limoges

General overview

A range of services and facilities for all were developed : ramps, lifts, accessible signage, an orientation map.  Torches and wheelchairs are available for loan. The team at the Musée des Beaux-Arts paid particular attention to access to collections and suitable interpretive tools, to enable visitors and public services staff to prepare for the visit.

Principales interventions d’accessibilité:

  1. ahead of the visit : information, resources and communication with staff to prepare the visit
  2. during the visit : activities and resources to facilitate the visit

Location :

At the heart of the old city of Limoges, amidst terraced gardens that overlook the river Vienne and its valley.

Description :

  • formerly an episcopal palace built at the end of 18th century
  • the collections occupy three floors and are displayed in four big zones
  • documentation, study and research centre about enamels, library and photo library: restoration workshop, learning spaces and auditorium

Illustrated case-study :

Find out more :

Challenges

Heritage significance and attractiveness

  • the building has been named a national Monument Historique in 1909
  • significant collection of works of art ranging from Antiquity to today
  • popular tourist destination with 70,000 visitors per year

Access challenges

Important renovation works were carried out between 2006-2011 (25 million Euros, over £20 million). This provided opportunity to up-grade the bulk of the museum’s facilities to current standards, as well as to implement and strengthen visitor services policies.  This commitment expressed, for example, in the creation of an entire range of products and services for all visitors, as well as specific ones for some groups of visitors with disabilities.

Approach

  • development of interpretive services : informal learning resources and activities are not a substitute to partial access. They support it and express a will to make the museum and its collections as accessible as is possible. These initiatives are all the more interesting, that they benefit all visitors. These make often use of interpretive tools created for visitors with disabilities.
  • a partnership approach, which involves consultation with voluntary organisations and staff from the medical care professions, to better anticipate the requirements of audiences.

Project

Ahead of the visit : information, resources and communication with staff to prepare the visit

To make it easier for the public to prepare for the visit, the museum has paid much attention to communication tools designed for “cultural mediation” : internet site, access guide, accessible formats.

The public can find information on the website or from intermediaries who pass on information about accessible events : a network of specialist service providers, voluntary organisations, home care services, shops, regular visitors.

A menu bar titled “disability” has been added to the museum website. The easy navigation allows visitors to prepare the visit ahead of the visit. Information provided includes practical access information for getting there, as well as information about accessible services for the main groups of disabled visitors (welcome desk, services, cost, etc). The text displayed on text panels can be downloaded online and is available onsite in large print and Braille.

An access guide for main groups of disabled people can be downloaded online (pdf version) and is available at reception. It includes an access map, a description of permanent collections and information about customer services, accessible services, cultural activities and guided tours.

Couverture du guide de l’accessibilité destiné aux personnes mal-entendantes et sourdes.                                  Couverture du guide de l’accessibilité destiné aux personnes présentant un handicap mental.

During the visit : activities and resources to facilitate the visit

“Au fil du BAL” : a communication and interpretation tool

Particular attention is paid to visitors with learning disabilities or mental health issues.
To complement the access guide, the staff team has created a discovery trail called “Au fil du BAL”, which invites visitors to discover nine major works of art in the museum. This :

  • provides step by step orientation information, e.g. ” to get to the corridor turn back… you are now in front of work of art Number 2″
  • briefly describes each work of art

Like all activities, this guide is being regularly evaluated. It can be used in several ways, depending on the mobility and cognitive abilities of the visitors. However varied those options are, a visit tailored to the individual profile of visitors, devised in close collaboration with staff is a must in terms of preparation.

Couvertue et page intérieure du fascicule «Au fil du BAL» permettant la préparation de la visite (orientation dans le musée et explications des oeuvres).

A diverse offer tailored to individuals and groups

The museum offers a guided discovery in addition to self-guided visits. Guided visits can be booked in advance. Tours in French Sign Language and multi-sensory visits, which use tactile images and samples are available.

Couvertue et page intérieure du fascicule «Au fil du BAL» permettant la préparation de la visite (orientation dans le musée et explications des oeuvres).Présentation d’une maquette tactile

Players and processes

Players

Close collaboration between the staff of the museum, voluntary organisations and organisations considered as advisers,

  • Project manager : architecture firm PC Dubois and associates

Processes

The interpretive resources created for enhancing the museum experience are the result of extensive consultation between the museum, disability organisations and medical care staff.

Consultation

The team at the Beaux-Arts museum has made commitment to improved accessibility for people with disabilities part of its response to “heritage for all and for everyone” (translator’s note: a the national cultural policy objective).

The museum put in place a consultation with voluntary organisations and hospital services to understand the specific requirements and expectations of every visitor. These exchanges improve the museum’s understanding of all publics and provide insights into the realities of the daily lives of people with disabilities. This process resulted in the creation of accessible resources for communication and interpretation.

Staff training

Every member of the museum’s staff receives a day of disability awareness training, which covers mobility difficulties, visual impairment, hearing impairment, learning disabilities, mental health issues as well as some degenerative illnesses.

This training, which aims at staff becoming more familiar with the main disabilities, focuses on training staff in making communication with visitors and in best meeting their expectations.

Pictures and maps