Consolidating the Accessible Circuit
The purpose of the Consolidation stage is the completion and release of the Accessible Circuit, integrating the existent exhibits in the museum with the new interactive interfaces, forming a visitor’s guide.
With the knowledge obtained from the previous stages, the performance and post-use evaluation of the prototype and the pilot, the museum can finally move toward the final interfaces, which are now part of the Mines and Metal Museum’s permanent exhibits.
Three interactive displays and this Guidebook (online and printed) received funds from the Mines and Metal Museum – MM Gerdau and from the Ibermuseums Award.
New Wise Stones Interactive Interfaces
The new Wise Stones interfaces maintained the pilot’s display structure, with the following changes:
- Adaptation of the furniture’s lower part, now with an aperture to allow the access of physically impaired visitors, especially wheelchair users.
- Mineral samples attached to the display, allowing the use of samples larger and heavier than the previous ones. That way, the Circuit’s various displays provide varied handling and interaction experiences.
- Buttons next to each mineral sample trigger the respective videos on the screen containing enlarged images of the samples (so that visitors with low visual capacity can observe interesting details), audio narrations (for visitors with total visual loss), texts (for deaf visitors who can read the vernacular) and translation into the Brazilian Sign Language (for deaf visitors who use sign language).
Wise Stones Guidebook
We released this Guidebook by the occasion of the opening of the Wise Stones Accessible Circuit, with the purpose of sharing the knowledge generated during this project and encouraging museums to promote the Universal Design and social inclusion.
Here, museum professionals find a brief summary of each stage of the research work, as well as all technical, complete and in-depth information, made available in the Wise Stone Project’s scientific publications. Other relevant resources on this topic can also be found in the References on Accessibility. The Guidebook was prepared in printed format, as well as PDF and website.
As suggested by some physically impaired visitors who participated in the interactive interface tests, we also prepared a guidebook for the public (Visitor’s Guide) containing some important information about each of the Circuit’s resources. The Guide works both as an invitation and visitation memory, helping educators to plan group activities in the museum.
The online guidebook’s web design was developed taking digital accessibility principles into consideration. Visually impaired users access the online content by using the NVDA screen reader. The hearing-impaired can make use of the VLibras sign language translator. Both software applications are free, with other commercially available options.
According to the 2017 Brazilian Census, Brazil has120 million internet users. Almost half of them only have internet access through the cell phone. For the first time, the access made exclusively via cell phone was higher than the combined one (computer and smartphone). This tendency needs to be considered in the process of development of an online guidebook, designing projects giving priority to the smartphone (mobile first). The website must also be responsive, that is, adapt to the various screen sizes by automatically adjusting the content.
Wise Stones: the end is the beginning
This project was developed during five years, involving five different institutions, researchers, a large team of professionals and a great number of visitors/volunteers, who assisted us in developing the Circuit and inspired us to give our best. The improvement cycle will keep turning in the museum, since the construction of an accessible Museography is a continuous process.
The managers and professionals at the Mines and Metal Museum – MM Gerdau, as well as researchers and their respective institutions, would like to thank everyone who worked in the materialization of this project. This is, certainly, the seed for many other initiatives, since we are all committed to the continuation of actions whose goal is a greater accessibility and inclusion.
This is a great joy for us, therefore, that this project approaches its end. We are at the end of a long and fruitful journey, but, for the numerous visitors who will benefit from the Wise Stones, this is just the beginning!