Pinacoteca di Brera launches guidebook and routes for people with intellectual disabilities

The Pinacoteca di Brera is becoming more and more inclusive: in fact, the museum is launching a guidebook and dedicated routes for people with intellectual disabilities, in collaboration with the Museum for All project of the non-profit organization L'abilità.

A guidebook and dedicated routes for people with intellectual disabilities: is the initiative of the Pinacoteca di Brera that marries the line of the Museum for All project, conceived in 2015 by the association L’abilità in collaboration and with the support of Fondazione De Agostini, and created with the aim of improving the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities, offering them a new space for meeting and exchange in society.

The Pinacoteca di Brera, which has long been developing a policy of inclusiveness, wanted to translate the intentions of “accessibility” and “welcome” into concrete actions to support its public with several initiatives that encouraged the participation of families and children, paying special attention to people with special needs and valuing diversity. A commitment that took the form of a specific program, A whole city is needed, which aims to reaffirm the fundamental social role of culture, thinking of the museum as a reference point for an entire community. The design of the Pinacoteca di Brera is now enriched, as anticipated, by a new perspective, one dedicated to people with intellectual disabilities: dedicated routes, specially trained educational teams and a guide created to ensure a unique inclusive experience of the works of art in the Braidense collections.

“Brera,” emphasizes director James M. Bradburne, “always welcomes projects to increase its policy of inclusion of the program A whole city is needed. Museum for All is an opportunity to develop other offerings in the Pinacoteca targeted to our diverse audiences.” Museo per tutti now has a network of 29 museums throughout the country, including the recent addition of the museums of Milan’s Castello Sforzesco, including the assets of FAI - Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano. A set that constitutes the widest cultural offer proposed to the public with intellectual disabilities, including ancient and contemporary art, natural and ethno-anthropological heritage. Museum for All aims to encourage the experience of visiting cultural places to people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to perceive the beauty of cultural heritage, to understand it because it is adequately explained, to internalize it because it is experienced on a cognitive and emotional level. A new way of relating to and enjoying art that aims to create opportunities for cultural and civic growth, while also offering an “antidote” against isolation.

The museum thus aspires to become a place of cultural growth, discovery, confrontation, integration and social inclusion. In line with the perception of the museum as a space of development and access to knowledge and enjoyment of art for all, thanks to the work of more than two years, carried out in synergy between the educational staff of the Pinacoteca di Brera and the team of L’abilità Onlus, the guide (downloadable in pdf format) Museo per tutti alla Pinacoteca di Brera has been created: a tool that was created with the aim of allowing the visitor with intellectual disabilities and his or her companion (parent, teacher, educator) to live in full autonomy the inclusive experience of visiting the museum, understanding the works of art, and fully experiencing the emotions. Within the guidebook, in addition to the history of the Pinacoteca and the Brera Palace and maps to better orient oneself within the spaces, 11 iconic works of art from the museum have been selected: from Giovanni Bellini ’s Pietà to Andrea Mantegna’s Dead Christ, from Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus to Raphael’s Wedding of the Virgin, from Canaletto ’s View of the Basin of San Marco to Francesco Hayez’s Kiss. The description of each work is accompanied by symbols to make it easier to understand and two in-depth boxes with key words and trivia about the artist and the work itself. The use of the guide is in addition to the presence of museum operators trained by L’abilità’s team to accompany groups of visitors with intellectual disabilities inside Brera.

“L’abilità has been working for more than 20 years to build a new culture of disability through education and inclusion projects,” says Carlo Riva, director of L’abilità Onlus and head of Museo per tutti. “Museums are places of education where cultural diversity is encountered and new thoughts and emotions are born. The Pinacoteca di Brera is the place where the color of Raphael, Mantegna, and Titian is encountered and new looks and multiple sensations are developed. Its masterpieces represent a world so rich and profound in its offerings that it cannot but be available to people who in their fragility demand well-being, health, quality of life. Thanks to the work done together with the Pinacoteca’s educational staff, people with intellectual disabilities will be able to be protagonists of the experience and experience new emotions.”

“We have been collaborating with L’abilità Onlus for quite some time,” says Chiara Boroli, President of De Agostini Foundation, “we have supported and accompanied it in many initiatives. Museo per tutti is a project that makes us particularly proud because it is unique. We believe, in fact, that being able to offer people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to enjoy works of art and enjoy beauty is as important as eliminating architectural barriers that limit people with physical disabilities. We are really happy that Museo per tutti lands at the Pinacoteca di Brera, one of the most representative places of art and culture in Milan, and among the most important in the world. This milestone well defines the success of the project, which is now widespread in many museum and art realities in Italy. The commitment for the future is to make Museo per tutti a recognized and widespread reality throughout the country.”

The accessible guide is suitable for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and is written in two versions that use different languages to reach as many different cases of difficulty of fruition as possible: the first version follows the rules ofeasy to read, a simplified language regulated by the European Union, specifically for intellectual disability, which promotes concentration and communication, and the second is drafted with the symbols of Alternative Augmentative Communication, which is a combination of text and symbols/images/pictures that allows communication through the visual tool, suitable for people who have difficulties in the production and comprehension of verbal language. The guide is available and downloadable from the websites of the Pinacoteca di Brera and Museo per tutti, a site created by the association L’abilità to gather all the museums and art places that have joined the project. In this way, visitors can use it as a tool to prepare their visit, to select what to visit and to plan to return to the museum again and again, experiencing it as an accessible and familiar place.

Pinacoteca di Brera launches guidebook and routes for people with intellectual disabilities
Pinacoteca di Brera launches guidebook and routes for people with intellectual disabilities

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