World Autism Awareness Day:

EMST first EU sensory-friendly museum in Autism

On the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day, the National Museum of Contemporary Art unveiled the design of the museum to make it fully accessible to people on the autism spectrum.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art is the first and only museum in the European Union that has made appropriate interventions to make it sensory-friendly for autism. Sensory accessibility consists of adapting conditions to create an optimal experience for people on the spectrum. It includes signage, support provision, sensory maps, staff training and other tools to help people on the spectrum and their companions prepare for and enjoy their visit to the EMST, as well as specially designed educational activities. The project was delivered with funding from the Department for Culture and Sport in 2020-21, in partnership with The Happy Act, a group focused on serving people on the spectrum and/or with sensory processing difficulties.

As Minister of Culture and Sport Lina Mendoni said, “Today, on World Autism Awareness Day, a public organisation, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, is pioneering at a European level by presenting a sensory accessibility guide that makes the museum space more open, more friendly and accessible to children on the autism spectrum and their families. For the Ministry of Culture and Sport, inclusion in culture and art is a priority. By including the relevant programmes in the Recovery Fund and working with people who have full knowledge of accessibility issues, the best solutions are being implemented so that museum spaces can contribute with innovative practices to informing the public and improving the quality of life of families with autistic people.

The Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports, responsible for Contemporary Culture, Nicolas Yatromanolakis, visited the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), was informed about the design and attended an educational programme for children on the spectrum and spoke with their parents.

An innovative programme that we started planning two years ago at the General Secretariat of Contemporary Culture in collaboration with the EMST has now been implemented and today I had the pleasure of seeing it put into practice. Talking to parents of children on the Autism spectrum today confirmed once again how important it is, not only for children, but for the whole family to design universal accessibility policies for culture, an effort that we are intensifying through the ‘Culture and Quality of Life’ project that we have included in the Recovery Fund with a budget of €27 million“, said after his visit the Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports, responsible for Contemporary Culture, Nicholas Yatromanolakis.