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A section of the Vermelha chair by Edra can be felt in the “Materials of Design” touch area. Photo: Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum (Kai Mewes)
Der erste Tasttisch repräsentiert die Vielfalt der Sammlung mit neun Tastobjekten: Hier der Akkuschrauber IXO 6 von Bosch. Foto: Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum (Kai Mewes)

Funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts and supported by “PIN. Freunde der Pinakothek der Moderne”, the Neue Sammlung in Munich has been dedicated to inclusion and digital mediation since February 2022. The pilot project “Experience inclusive design” was seen as a first step towards making good design accessible to everyone. The project is now being developed further: From the end of 2023, 17 original objects can be experienced haptically at two “touch tables” in the Design Museum’s X-D-E-P-O-T and corresponding information on the exhibits can be accessed via sliding screens. (The tactile station was developed by Tactile Studio & Atelier WAM; the table was designed by Kuehn Malvezzi). To ensure that the respective content reaches as many visitors as possible, they can choose the form in which the information is displayed: as a short text with background information, as text in easy-to-understand language, as audio description or video in German sign language. The content is also communicated in English. An “in-depth level” with images, texts, audio recordings and videos also invites visitors to explore in a playful way. The tactile objects themselves are intended to convey “the diversity of the museum’s collection” as well as “design ideas of the modular principle”; six different materials can also be touched.

The educational offer is aimed in particular at people with hearing and visual impairments, speech comprehension difficulties or cognitive impairments, but is of course freely available to everyone. As part of the project’s goal of greater inclusion, the Neue Sammlung’s online presence is also being revised. After the website was already supplemented in 2022 in accordance with the minimum standard of digital accessibility, it is now to be relaunched and from spring 2024, as it says, “will provide increasingly comprehensive content aimed at different target groups”. With this project, the museum aims to offer digital, inclusive access to one of the world’s most important collections of design history.

The Bavarian Minister of Art, Markus Blume, emphasized that the inclusive touch station and the new barrier-free website “connect the digital and analog worlds in an innovative way and make it possible to discover and understand our cultural treasures together. Digitalization offers incredible opportunities to make art and culture equally accessible to everyone – we must seize these opportunities! With the ‘kultur.digital.vermittlung’ program, we are supporting state institutions on their path to digital transformation.”

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