Culture for Everybody? Museums and Galleries Accessible for Deaf Pupils in the Czech Republic, France and Sweden

Thursday, October 31, 2013
First author:
Koutská M.
Adapting the Environment II

Faculty of Education, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic

All authors:

Mariana Koutská

Empowerment & Environment
Cultural institutions, accessibility, education, deaf pupils


Culture is crucial for our identity, the feeling of belonging. It is the keystone of education. There is a group of children though, who are from the education perspective considered as having special needs. At the same time these children represent members of a cultural and linguistic minority. Who are they? They are Deaf. The question remains are cultural institutions accessible for deaf children.


80 deaf primary school pupils and 40 teachers were surveyed on issues related to cultural institutions (terminology, experience, implementation into school education programs). 75 Czech, French and Swedish museums and galleries were questioned about the accessibility for deaf visitors on the level of human resources and technical measures, about programs offered to deaf children and the level of cooperation with the outside network.


The results show that deaf children have problems with understanding the basic terminology despite of experiencing multiple visits. Teachers and institutions see the lack of information about deafness as a key factor for better mutual cooperation. French institutions are the only ones offering a variety of programs for deaf pupils by cooperating with deaf staff and using new technologies.


I conclude that unlike national legislation and policies, cultural institutions are not enough prepared to welcome deaf visitors. On the other hand, growing number of institutions have employees responsible for accessibility, the number of programs offered for deaf children is increasing and institutions claim they are willing to change their approach toward deaf visitors.