BELvue Museum: Inclusive Digital Content for People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

BELvue Museum: Inclusive Digital Content for People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Open Museum knows it very well: inclusion at the museum can be achieved in various ways. But always one step at a time. Check out these initiatives by BELvue museum to create interactive and inclusive digital content.

For those who haven’t visited yet, here’s a bit about the BELvue Museum

The BELvue Museum hosts a collection of objects embodying Belgium’s present and past – tangible witnesses to the themes dealt with in the permanent exhibition: democracy, prosperity, solidarity, pluralism, migration, languages, Europe. Located in the Hôtel de Belle-vue, next to the Royal Palace in Brussels, the rooms and walls of the museum also share stories of the countless nobles and heads of state who have stayed there. A pioneer in its field, the BELvue is curating a museum where you can really experience history and democracy.

What the BELvue is doing to make their collection more accessible

Modern and interactive, the BELvue is working to digitalize its collection so that it can remain accessible even when you can’t visit in person. On top of that, it offers a variety of playful tours focused the youngest visitors. The BELvue deals with complicated and central topics to society through a series of role-playing games, workshops, quizzes and other educational activities in the elegant rooms of this former residence. Visitors can now access the museum’s audiovisual material securely via the Heritage App.

However, digitalizing its collection was not enough for the BELvue Museum.

Sign Language Game in the Museum and On the Road with Zeno

According to Aurélie Cerf, Head of the Public and Educational Department, the winning combination at the museum is a mixture of analogue and digital technologies. At the museum, they have been integrating modern, digital technology into their institutions in order to better serve the people visiting. Thinking about the young public, the museum has put in place several digital offers to make its collection come to (virtual) life.

The “Sign Language Game in the Museum” is the result of a collaboration with children with hearing impairments, interpreters and Casa Blanca with the aim of making sign language and deaf culture more visible. Casa Blanca is an organization with a great deal of expertise in art and heritage experiences for children, who since 2018, they have been researching ways to make culture more accessible to children with hearing difficulties. The BELvue game integrates VGT (Flemish Sign Language) and LSFB (Sign Language of French-speaking, Belgium) into the visit, not only making the museum more accessible, but also making visible a part of the culture that is often neglected.

Also, thanks to this cooperation, BELvue and Casa Blanca created the educational game “On the Road with Zeno.” Children have the pleasure of discovering Belgium on board Zeno’s van, which accompanies them on a journey through history, economics, and culture. It is now available in the museum and is accessible to children, with and without hearing difficulties, via the Heritage App.

So, in creating content with the deaf and hard of hearing in mind, the BELvue has successfully created two new activities that can be used by all people visiting their institution. Starting from a place of empathy, we can all work to create initiatives that better serve the people around us.