Study on the accessibility of our monuments, palaces and museums
We conducted in the DEPOF (Department of Studies, Projects, Works and Supervision) of the DGPC an innovative study on the conditions of accessibility of the visiting areas of the properties under our care (monuments, palaces, museums and archaeological sites).The latest version of MATRIZ showing the data collection grids is now available for public use HERE.
The purpose of this analysis was to identify the main problems, make suggestions to overcome them and set priorities for future action to help DGPC make investment options.
We approached accessibility as a global, engaging, and transversal theme in the life of institutions with multiple facets and covering all sectors of activity and all employees. As recommended by international good practices, the concept contemplates many other aspects beyond physical access.
Themes under analysis
In this line of thought, we have drawn up a list of 10 topics with accessibility implications: 1. Building. 2. Location and orientation. 3. Exhibitions. 4.Communication and dissemination. 5.Safety. 6.Consulting. 7.Training. 8. Employment and volunteering. 9.Evaluation.10. Management policy.
On each of the themes, we have established a set of evaluation criteria formulated through questions whose answer must be YES. Some of these criteria coincide with what is stipulated in Decree-Law No. 163/2006 of 8 August, but many others go beyond what is mentioned in this legal act, which is restricted to matters of architecture. This means that our evaluation reflects not only the degree of compliance with Portuguese legislation, but also the internationally recognised good practices. Therefore, the defined criteria are not mandatory, they are recommended according to international quality standards.
The work methodology has gone through several stages.
— Creation of grids for data collection — The grids we created in Excel spreadsheets were designed so that the information could be treated both qualitatively and quantitatively.
— Filling the grids — We filled some of the grids based on direct observation of the sites by three members of the work team, and also as a result of interviews made to the directors and to two members of their team. As such, we collected the same data from three different sources to ensure its validity. By assigning a different weighting to each of the themes within the set, it was possible to obtain a numerical evaluation of the accessibility of each property expressed in terms of % compliance to the criteria previously established.
— Drafting the final report — Based on the completed grids, we made a detailed final report for each case identifying the problems, giving suggestions, setting intervention priorities and making a final assessment in terms of % compliance with standards and good practices.
Quantitative and qualitative evaluation
Through the % obtained in Excel sheets and from the text of the reports, we obtained a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the accessibility of the properties under study.
The grills are applicable to the universe of the properties assigned to the DGPC, whether they are monuments, palaces, museums, or archaeological sites, assuming that they are all musealised spaces, with similarities overlapping the differences.
The study was developed in 3 years (2014, 2015 and 2016).
The above-mentioned characteristics give this work an innovative character, as this methodology has been tested, measured, and validated in all the properties under the DGPC.
The multidisciplinary team that developed the study included Fátima Peralta (design), João Herdade (architecture and museography) and Clara Mineiro (accessible communication), with supervision of the director of the DEPOF (João Seabra Gomes).
An ongoing work
This project has not been completed. The matrix that we now make available for public use should be validated by users during a 6-month TEST period ending at the end of April 2018.It will then be replaced by an improved version, incorporating various criticisms and suggestions.
You may send your comments on the matrix, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Based on the MATRIZ grid, professionals working in monuments, palaces, museums and archaeological sites can now self-assess the accessibility of their workplaces, monitor their performance in relation to the objectives set and therefore encourage decision-makers to invest in universal accessibility.
The authors of this study will continue to improve this work tool and will make the latest version available here.