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Posted On: 4 December 2019 07:01 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:06 pm

Museum of Illusions to become more inclusive for people with disabilities

Binu Cherian
Binu Cherian
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Sasol, the international integrated chemicals and energy company, as part of its ongoing efforts to promote inclusion and accessibility under its Accessible Qatar initiative, supported the newly opened Museum of Illusions to become more inclusive for people with disabilities, and arranged a special visit of the initiative’s Ambassadors on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3.

A United Nations initiative, The International Day of Persons with Disabilities aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development. The Museum of Illusions has designed their premises to be suitable for the disabled community as part of their aim to be an accessible and inclusive museum for all people. However, to ensure proper inclusion, the Accessible Qatar initiative conducted an accessibility audit at the museum and supported in having the museum exhibit descriptions to be displayed in braille language to become accessible for the visually impaired.

The Museum of Illusions offers an interactive, immersive and fun experience for people of all ages and has become one of the fastest-growing education and entertainment places, with locations in 18 cities around the world. The Doha branch of the Museum opened in September 2019 at the Gate Mall and is currently the only branch which includes braille language for the blind.

Ioana C. El Watidy Executive Director at Museum of Illusions said, “One in four families has a disabled member and we want to welcome those members, their families and friends and ensure they have an amazing experience. We are delighted to welcome the Ambassadors of Accessible Qatar to the museum, and very thankful to Sasol and its Accessible Qatar initiative for offering us an accessibility audit and advising us how to become more inclusive. We also thank the Qatar Social & Cultural Center for Blind for offering us the braille printing of all our exhibits. Access is usually seen in terms of barriers which need to be identified and dismantled, however, it should be considered in the broadest sense. It is not just about providing ramps or accessible toilets. The barriers may be physical, sensory, intellectual, emotional, attitudinal, financial, social, educational or cultural. Our main target is to remove the fear of the unknown and let the people know that Museum of Illusions has good accessibility.”

The museum caters to different types of disability and has good lighting, clear labels, signs and arrows to ensure ease of access. Descriptions in Braille language along with magnifiers and large-print descriptions of exhibits, well-chosen colour schemes and good acoustics are part of the museum’s inclusion programme. Except for certain areas with an inclined floor, all other space is easily accessible by wheelchairs. Also, at all times, a wheel-chair is available to borrow within the premises.

The museum also has a Friendly Sensory hour every first Saturday of the month that provides an opportunity to guests who have mobility challenges, struggle to communicate or become easily overwhelmed by stimuli. The staff are also well trained to handle any kind of situation and have attended a Disability Awareness Training with accent on Autism Spectrum Disorder, presented by the Child Development Center.

Accessible Qatar is a smartphone application and website, the first of its kind in the region. It provides the disabled community with instant and reliable information about the accessibility of public and touristic locations in Qatar. The app is available for download free of charge on the App Store, Google Play store, and Windows Phone Store.

Source: Press release