The National Museum of Art of Romania launched on Wednesday, October 12, the project called “ARTmobile – A handy museum!”, designed with the support of the financing obtained within the contest “The World through Color and Sound” of the Orange Foundation. It suggest a new approach of the museum experience, facilitating the direct interaction of the museum with people having sensory impairments, who can virtually discover a part of the most valuable art works in the collections held by the largest art museum in the country. The project contributes to increased interaction of the museum with the public and to aligning its services to the best practices in the field. To the press conference held in the National Gallery of the National Museum of Art of Romania attended: Calin Stegerean – MNAR General Manager, Liudmila Climoc – CEO at Orange Romania, Amalia Fodor – Orange Foundation Manager, Codruta Cruceanu – ARTmobile Project Coordinator, Rodica Bogdan and Gelu Bogdan – President of ANIALMG, Mircea Bucur – President of “Cartea Calatoare” Foundation, Adriana Boruna – Head of Institutional Development Service at the National Library, along with representatives of various categories of beneficiaries of the project.
“ARTmobile is a project that aims to bring all the categories of public closer to the museum, no matter where they are, by entering our website which gains an increasingly higher addressability for the public having special needs. We owe its existence to our cooperation with the Orange Foundation, which I hope that will continue to stay with us, and we are proud to have such a partner. It’s for the first time in Romania when people having sensory imparities can access the website of a museum, being able to discover 40 masterpieces in its heritage. This communication platform will soon be accessible for the public from our terminals from all the museum’s spaces providing free wireless connectivity”, stated Calin Steregean, the Manager of the National Museum of Art of Romania.
The website www.mnar.arts.ro was relaunched in a simplified form, with systemized information. The new website brings to forefront the satellite museums (The Art Collections Museum, The K.H. Zambaccian Museum, The Theodoar Pallady Museum), it has connections to the social networks and the MNAR YouTube channel. An important component continues to be the virtual visits for a part of the heritage. The 40 selected art works benefit from audio descriptions made with the support of known voices like Melania Medeleanu, Adela Greceanu, Alina Vancia, Dan Daniel, Liviu Popescu, professionals who voluntarily joined this project. Also, to support people with hearing impairments, 17 of these works are described in the sign language by middle school students and authorized interpreters. For people having visual impairments there have been created 15 dramatizations similar to some small radio theater plays, and 14 works benefit from tactile diagrams completed by text and audio descriptions allowing a guided exploration. Only three of them are available online for the moment (Corneliu Baba, The Chess Player, Nicolae Tonitza, The Forester’s Daughter and Paul Signac, Gate – San Tropez), and the next 11 will be monthly published in 2017. All these materials will be available for free download at home, at school or by the interested associations.
“I congratulate MNAR and the whole team of the project for this great step towards the inclusion of people having special needs, and I am glad that ARTmobile has obtained financing to provide them with access to education through culture. A modern society couldn’t exist without providing fair and equal conditions for all its members, and technology brings the answers and solutions adapted to the needs of the people having imparities” stated Liudmila Climoc – CEO at Orange Romania.
Being inspired by the impulse of the young generation to experiment new technologies and to learn in a pleasant way, ARTmobile allows to the National Museum of Art of Romania to have a dialogue with the people at distance, contributing to increased knowledge of the people with imparities about visual arts.
“MNAR is at the second financing of a project through the Orange Foundation, which demonstrates the tireless efforts for accessibility, and we are proud of this cooperation. People having sensory imparities have barriers which many of us don’t know, and we’ve tried to bring education, culture and health closer to them, with the support of the digital technologies. Any NGO can apply starting from December 2016 with special projects” recalled Amalia Fodor – The Orange Foundation Manager.
The National Museum of Art of Romania provides the public of all ages and across the whole country with the opportunity to get familiar to the museum’s collections and to acquire knowledge about art. Moreover, the correlation of the information provided by descriptions, dramatizations, diagrams and guided exploration helps to fix the knowledge and to develop or maintain different kinds of memory. The total value of the ARTmobile project amounts RON 299,750, of which 75 percent represents the value of the financing obtained within the contest “The World through Color and Sound” held by the Orange Foundation.
“The new MNAR website was born from the interaction with people having sensory imparities who attended to our first project implemented in cooperation with Orange Foundation. By this new project, we’ve tried to answer to different categories of imparities through dramatizations, audio descriptions and diagrams accompanying certain art works, and also through sign language films, to have a complete circle of the inclusion. The 17 films in the sign language were performed with the support of three categories of people: students of the Secondary Special School for Deaf People in Bucharest and their teachers, Rodica Bogdan and Gelu Bogdan – professional interpreters, and visual artists with hearing imparities. Cristina Munteanu, the interpreter of the works in the European Art Gallery is with us. It’s a beginning of a road and a long way we can go on. I thank to the teachers who cooperated with us to create tactile diagrams, available for the first time in Romania on the website of a museum. Thus, they become accessible to thermoformed schools and t students. They can be equally used by all those who need an interesting support for a painting class. The diagrams are accompanied by written and audio explanations. Soon we will launch a complementary application on Android support which will also present the 40 masterpieces” explained Codruta Cruceanu, the coordinator of the ARTmobile project.
Tested LIVE by Adrian Boruna, Head of Institutional Development Service at the National Library, “the new website will be available for easy access by all persons having sensory imparities, only with the support of the keyboard. The synthetic voice (feminine or masculine) facilitates the browsing for blind people, wo whom more elements are made available, including high quality audio descriptions”.
For Mircea Bucur, the President of the “Cartea Calatoare” Foundation and a partner of the Museum in creating the dramatizations, this project represents a model to be followed. “It was a real pleasure to cooperate with the MNAR team, whose availability was a pleasant surprise for me, since they were more interested by accessibility than many other NGOs with this profile. I was delighted by the dramatizations that are available to us and I hope this model will be followed not only by other cultural institutions, but especially by a radio channel that will provide blind people with a similar interpretation of a theater play for an art work. We have the same language and are part of the same world, and such a project brings us close to culture together”.
In the end of the press conference, Gelu Bogdan, the President of ANIALMG (National Association of the Authorized Interpreters in the Sign Langauge) welcomed in the sign language the efforts of the MNAR and of the Orange Foundation: “National Museum of Art of Romania made us, the people having hearing imparities, a pleasant surprise: ARTmobile, which opens more doors and represents an important step to integration”.
Starting from October 12, 2016, ARTmobile is one click away on the website www.mnar.arts.ro.