BrailleNet

11th European e-Accessibility Forum
e-Accessible Culture

19/06/2017, 9am-6pm
Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, Paris

 
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Let´s Make it work for everyone! The MegaMind exhibition space and accessibility

Mariana BACK (Stockholm)
National Museum of Science and Technology, Sweden
mariana.back@tekniskamuseet.se

Maria OLSSON (Stockholm)
National Museum of Science and Technology, Sweden
maria.olsson@tekniskamuseet.se

Speaker's information


Mariana Back

Mariana Back has worked for many years as a Curator and as Head of Development at Stockholm's National Museum of Science and Technology. She has been active in these roles in education, exhibitions, concepts and development, accessibility and research. Mariana was part of the project group that created MegaMind, the new science centre that opened in September 2015. She was tasked with concept development and public engagement and was also responsible for assuring scientific relevance of the exhibition as a whole and for each component of the installation.

 
Maria Olsson

Maria Olsson has been responsible for the accessibility of the MegaMind science centre since January 2016. She has a background in pedagogy and special education skills from many years working in schools. Maria also has overall responsibility for developing and implementing new strategies that make the National Museum of Science and Technology an obvious place for all to visit – regardless of their differences.

 

Summary


The Science and technology museum in Stockholm was established in 1936 to make science and technology more accessible to the general public and in particular to young people. The Teknorama Science Centre, the first of its kind in Sweden exploring hands-on science, was opened in 1985. MegaMind, the Science and Technology Museum's new science center, was opened in 2015 as a place for inspiration, creativity, learning and innovation to build children's confidence in science.

Targeting families and children, schools and teachers, it was created in consultation with around 50 to 60 teachers and around 800 children. A specific accessibility reference group was created to ensure the centre would appeal to different age groups and different kinds of needs. A great deal of testing and evaluation was undertaken to fine tune the concept and factor in different ways of experiencing the exhibition.

Through digital display units, visitors are given the choice on how they wish information to be presented (sign language, symbol support for people with learning disabilities, text-to-speech, larger text, higher contrast, in English or in Swedish). A track pad is provided for blind visitors or children with concentration issues.

In spring 2016 extensive evaluation was undertaken which resulted in the creation of MegaMind Focus, a monthly session directly aimed at children with special needs. While the content of these sessions is no different from standard sessions, visits are undertaken at a slower pace and there is more support on hand so that the children feel safer and more secure. Visitors are provided with more online information ahead of their visit and are better prepared on what to expect. Feedback so far has been very positive and the museum is committed to finding new ways to improve this service to ensure that the exhibition is accessible to all audiences.

The museum has also been developing further offerings to broaden its reach. A touring bus is now on the road, and in Spring 2018 the museum will be opening a Mathematical garden outside the museum buildings that will be accessible to the general public 24 hours a day. Lessons learned with regards to accessibility through the Megamind project will inform the development of this space.

Watch Mariana Back and Maria Olsson's presentation on YouTube. For subtitles, please use the CC button, and if you require a transcript do not hesitate to contact us at contact[at]braillenet.org.

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