The Galleria Borghese has recently opened its doors to fragile publics, to whom it currently dedicates an informal course of study on the history of the Museum and its collection. The aim is to offer people with disabilities experiences of active participation as part of a comprehensive programme of inclusion to make the Museum a place for Everyone, as established by the bylaws of the International Council of Museums (ICOM): “The museum is a permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public.”
For a cultural institution, and especially for a museum, enlarging its publics is a question of responsibility and sustainability. Museums should validate the identities of majorities and minorities, as well as their differences, to actively contribute to the education of citizens.
Part of a more extensive accessibility programme initiated by the Galleria Borghese, these activities validate the latter’s social vocation because they are designed for people at risk of exclusion. They promote an accessible and inclusive vision of Culture and, through ART, facilitate experiences of socializing and the development of the personal abilities of people who are fragile in various ways.
Cf. Directive n. 26, issued on 25 July 2018 by the Italian Director-General of Museums: “Guidelines for drawing up the P.E.B.A. (Plan for the Elimination of Architectural Barriers) in museums, monumental complexes, and archaeological areas and parks.”
“Museum Stories” Project: Itineraries for deaf and hearing people together at the Galleria Borghese
Collaboration between the Galleria Borghese and the Istituto Statale per Sordi has created MUSEUM STORIES, an innovative activity conceived for deaf and hearing adults together, and thus simultaneously in both Italian and LIS, Italian sign language. The project delineates thematic itineraries through the collection entrusted to two art historians, one deaf and the other a signing hearer, in order to create, through Art, moments of socializing and contribute to the demolition of prejudice with regard to disabilities.
The Galleria Borghese for blind and visually impaired people
The Museum has created an outdoor tactile place map of the building and its surrounding areas of greenery to help visitors get their first bearings, conceived in accordance with the principles of universal design so that it can be used by people with visual impairments as well as those with normal vision. The map has been placed in the open space in front of the museum and will be the starting point of the thematic itineraries, including those dedicated to the park and its Italian-style gardens, the statuary, and the areas originally left as woods for hunting. A wide-ranging immersive and multisensory story to be experienced together by people with different perceptions.
In collaboration with the Museo Tattile Statale “Omero” in Ancona, the ARTEINSIEME Biennial.
The “Opportunities: Mental-health courses at the Galleria Borghese” Project
Several people who frequent a senior centre of the Roma1 Local Health Authority (ASL) participate in a permanent training course at the Galleria Borghese, putting to good use the experience they have acquired and developing new incentives. On special days established by the Museum, they perform activities of cultural mediation on masterpieces chosen by themselves. Working in direct contact with such art develops their critical sense and helps them organise their thinking and their skills in view of their encounter and exchange of ideas with visitors, when they will be obliged to manage their emotions.
In collaboration with the Dipartimento Salute Mentale ASL Roma1.
The intercultural “Stories and Photos at the Galleria Borghese: To listen and tell about ourselves” project
For the Settimana dei Musei (Museum Week) 2019, the Galleria Borghese initiated a relationship with the CivicoZero senior centre with the aim of offering an opportunity to become familiar with our cultural heritage and experience Beauty to a public that is usually excluded: unaccompanied minors. Encounters with the Museum’s masterpieces become moments for listening to stories that generate photographs and autobiographical narratives in kids from different parts of the world who have had, and still have, to live in difficult circumstances. Telling about themselves and sharing their emotions with the public in the protected space of the Museum is an important experience for increasing the self-esteem and improving the ability to form relationships of young people, who often lead isolated lives in our cities. In close collaboration with CivicoZero and Roberto Vignoli*, they will collect their thoughts and photographs on a sheet of paper folded in four called “Griot”, demonstrating the evocative power of works of art: concrete zones for landing and starting out again for those who live in complex circumstances, with an uncertain future.
*Roberto Vignoli, a photographer of art and architecture who has worked for major photographic agencies such as Image Bank, Agf, and Granata Press. From 1985 to 2012 he worked for the weekly L’Espresso, where he covered the pages with international news and cultural columns. Although photography is his main profession, Vignoli also writes novels and short stories.
High-level courses in museum accessibility and cultural-heritage education
The Galleria Borghese has initiated a collaboration with the Department of Humanities of the Università degli studi di Cassino e del Lazio meridionale and the Excellence Centre of the Technological District of Cultural Heritage regarding two high-level training courses. The first – “Museum accessibility: Assistive tools and technologies” – aims to furnish basic knowledge to facilitate the accessibility of the cultural heritage in museums for all publics, with concern for people with disabilities, while the second – “Cultural- heritage education and museum communication” – concerns cultural mediation with regard to different types of public, principles, and tools for communication.