Signing Museums for Kids: сase of free family phone app offering the first in Russia dictionary of contemporary art terms in Russian Sign Language.
CATEGORYAccessibility | Diversity/ Inclusion | Participation
YEAR2018 - 2021
DURATION3 years project
FORMATfree family phone app
TARGETGarage Museum of Contemporary Art designed and presented a free family phone app offering the first dictionary in Russia of contemporary art terms in Russian Sign language (RSL) for children. This learning app helps kids get to know more about the art world through learning RSL terms. The demonstration of each term is made in the form of a short video where deaf children explain art categories to other kids using their native sign language.
In 2015, Garage became the first museum in Russia to launch a department of inclusive programs thus setting an important mission—to develop conditions for a museum experience that would be accessible for all visitors and engage the country’s museum, professional, and pedagogical communities in a dialogue. The work with deaf and hard of hearing visitors is a major direction in the Museum’s activity in the field of inclusion. In the process of developing tours, events, and courses for deaf and hard of hearing kids in and outside of the Museum, Garage staff came to the conclusion that deaf elementary school pupils have no access to literature on art and there are no sources of information about contemporary art terms and concepts available at school. Aiming to change the situation and drawing on the experience of preparing a dictionary of art terms in RSL for adults, Garage’s Inclusive Programs Department has developed the application Signing Museums for Kids. Signing Museums for Kids is a learning phone app featuring multiple videos and illustrations, using which children (together with or independently from parents) will be able to learn new things about the art world in general and about museums of contemporary art. The game structure of the application makes learning a captivating and exciting process, while its simple interface allows children to use the app without the help of adults. For example, the section Vocabulary is designed as a set of five virtual spaces, from a painting gallery to a cabinet of arts, each containing various objects. Clicking the objects opens videos in Russian Sign Language, with Russian subtitles, that offer the object’s definition and description. The demonstration of each term is made in the form of a short video where deaf children explain art categories using sign language, with all videos accompanied by interactive illustrations. Signing Museums for Kids is useful for cultural institutions to become closer to the deaf community, discover common ground with deaf and hard of hearing children and adults, and draw the attention of specialists working with deaf students at schools and pre-school education institutions.