Researchers at Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences in Wolfenbüttel are working with the German Maritime Museum and the local Lebenshilfe association in Bremerhaven to develop an app that should make it easier for people with intellectual disabilities to visit museums. The approach behind the project, which is called ‘Cultural participation in museums - the potential of digitalization’, allows the target group to help shape the project as equal partners.
Large green spheres show the way. They guide museum visitors past interesting objects in the Cog Hall to the historic ships in the Old Port of the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven (DSM). Short texts that can be read or listened to provide information about the whaling ship RAU IX, the concrete ship PAUL KOSSEL or the Bremen cog dated to 1380. The app on the mobile phone of computer science professor Dr Ina Schiering from the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences in Wolfenbüttel is still a prototype, but it could soon make it easier for people with intellectual disabilities to visit the museum.
The participatory research project was developed as part of the Leibniz ScienceCampus Postdigital Participation, which is led by the Leibniz Institute for Educational Media and addresses social participation and digitalization.
In the project’s second funding phase, which runs until 2027, the Ostfalia researchers will focus on finalising and testing the app prototype, and on broadening the scope of the project by using expanded surveys to determine the conditions needed to improve the cultural participation of people with intellectual disabilities. ‘We will also continue to pursue a participatory approach, by involving the museum group from Bremerhaven in the development of the questionnaire for example. This has created a sustainable and very valuable connection for all concerned, which is not to be taken for granted’, says Professor Müller from Ostfalia.
Click here for the press release from the Ostfalia (in German): More inclusion in museums via app