Schwerin National Museum

Painting Guide

Schwerin National Museum has been organising special guided tours for the blind and partially sighted since 2005, but now they were to embark on an even more ambitious extension of that work, by offering a permanently accessible set of resources for the visually impaired!

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The National Museum has well deserved reputation as a leader in the field of inclusivity. It was this leading example that prompted us to create a groundbreaking way of accessing their displays with the development and design of a multi-sensory guidebook for everyone.

In particular we were determined to devise a new way of exploring one of the museum’s main attractions, the internationally renowned collection of 17th-century Dutch painting. ‘The Golden Age’ introduces eight paintings from the vast array of the museum’s most prominent collection, making them accessible for blind and visually impaired people alike for the first time. Each of these wonderful paintings is described in great detail. Transparent Braille texts are superimposed onto standard print or images, acting as mini works of art in their own right.

Tactile versions of the paintings in heightened relief, accompany these, giving everyone the chance to explore the works of art, in the fullest possible way. And if you don’t want to read or touch or look, nothing could be easier: you can listen. The accompanying audio CD rounds off our complete art package for all user groups. All in all, we’re delighted to say, that we lived up to both our own and our client’s expectations.

The success of our multi-sensory painting guide has been recognized with numerous awards, amongst others, the ADAC (German Automobile Association) Tourism Award and the International Design for All Foundation Award in 2013.

A glance at the book

Rough Sea with Boats

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Listen to the description of the painting “Rough sea with boats” by Ludolf Backhuisen.

Inclusion in use

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Project details

Client: Staatliches Museum Schwerin

Total edition: 400 books

Project period: 2011 – 2015

Project partners: Kulturkompanie, Hela Michalski

Project specifications: Development of a publication concept for the first inclusive painting guide of Germany, development of book content (selection of paintings and background information), development of a novel production method for the large-scale printing of transparent Braille, development of texts and audio descriptions of paintings for visually impaired readers, concept and digitizing of tactile illustrations, layout and graphic design, support studio recordings Audio CD, production management