EU project ARCHES

With technology to the barrier-free museum: ARCHES closing event

Photo above left: the multimedia guide and the tactile relief "The Bird Thief" by Pieter Bruegel the Elder; Photo above right: various tactile reliefs created by VRVis; Photo below left: the presentation of the project results at the KHM; Photo below right: a visitor with visual impairment touching the tactile relief (Photo 1-3 (c) KHM Museum Association; Photo 4 (c) VRVis)

For about 10 years, a part of the "Multiple Senses" research group at the VRVis has been working on making art and culture accessible to people with disabilities by means of technology and to help museums become more barrier-free. This important work is currently being continued within the H2020 project ARCHES - VRVis is not only project partner but also project coordinator. ARCHES stands for "Accessible Ressources for Cultural Heritage EcoSystems".

On Wednesday, 3 July 2019, the presentation of the results of the ARCHES project took place in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien. A special component of the development work was the contribution of people with various visual, hearing and cognitive impairments, who helped the researchers to work out what barrier-free art in museums could look like in a total of 30 participatory workshops. Now the result of this work was presented: an interactive multimedia guide and a tactile relief, which was developed at VRVis. The art piece chosen was "The bird thief" by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

In this project VRVis developed not only a tactile 3D version of the painting "The bird thief", but of many other paintings as well. These tactile reliefs complement the experience of the original artwork and lend a further dimension from which regular visitors can of course also benefit. For this purpose, a gesture-controlled multimedia guide was developed that reacts, for example, to the movement of a finger. This extends the possibilities of interaction with the artwork by providing information on and around the exhibit - as an audio file, as a text for reading, or in sign language videos. Animations and sound effects round off the offer and also interest children.

The project progress of all participating museums and the final ARCHES App will be presented in Madrid on 7 November 2019.

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