All aboard! - The salutogenic museum is an educational development project at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm which will run from 2008 to 2011. The project is supported by the Swedish Inheritance Fund and is being conducted jointly by
the Swedish National Maritime Museums, the National Association for Disabled Children and Youths in Stockholm (RBU), Save the Children, Sweden, the Astrid Lindgren Children´s Hospital at the Karolinska University Hospital, the Swedish Institute for Special Needs Education and Handisam - Swedish Agency for Disability Policy Coordination.
The aim is that every child or young person, regardless of their specific functionality
should be able to benefit from, enjoy and actively take part in the educational activities on equal terms and with due dignity.
The project has been inspired by the salutogenic perspective. This means an emphasis on the origins of health and all that supports health and creates meaning. The UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child, which emphasizes what is best for the child, the child´s right to life and development, and the child´s right to cultural activities, underlies the project. All on board! has, accordingly, been developed in close collaboration with an expert group of children.
A new room for educational purposes was inaugurated in November 2008. The room
represents a total experience for all the senses and will encourage independence, discoveries, learning, participation, training and collaboration. Many tactile moments are included and we can travel up and down in a diving bell rather than a lift for the disabled. The activities in the room always involve the museum educators and focus on the theme of the warship Vasa and the 17th century. One can, for example, discover and study objects just like a marine archaeologist. Or work on the sails and ropes or try steering the ship.
We have also produced new materials in the Blissymbolics format which is a system of symbols in which words and concepts are represented by pictures. The room and its various activities can also be used for rehabilitation and in habilitation work.
In 2009 we shall also be able to offer activities using sign language. We aim to produce three mobile units with accessible educational materials. We call these units vipers, which was the name of the smaller boats that accompanied the Vasa. The "vipers" can be used outside the museum; for example in rehabilitation work.
One aim of the project is that it should inspire others in their work to increase accessibility as well as acting as a centre of expertise for other museums.
By developing a philosophy of accessibility we want also to develop the functionality
of our operations. Instead of adapting we want to get it right from the very start. Working with increased accessibility is an innovative force that helps to develop all the operations. By means of multi-functionality, flexibility and an expansive focus we work with dignified solutions that include a multiplicity of needs and that encourage independence and new coping strategies. A visit to our room at the Vasa Museum should be intelligible, meaningful and manageable regardless of how one functions.
Further info and audio at www.maritima.se