From the start, the MSK wanted to guarantee optimal accessibility to the exhibition. “Van Eyck. An Optical Revolution” wanted to give everyone the chance to get as close as possible to Van Eyck. To this end, we developed a series of mediation tools, in collaboration with our partners.
Even before the exhibition was built, we did a trial run with 400 enthusiastic test subjects in the empty museum galleries.
People with a physical disability
The museum building is wheelchair accessible. There is a separate access for people in wheelchairs, walkers or push chairs. The exhibition itself was also completely barrier-free. A separate route was provided to make the access to the exhibition easier for less mobile visitors. The scenography made use of display cases at the height of visitors in wheelchairs.
For all languages
The MSK wanted to make the exhibition completely accessible to the international audience who travelled to Ghent for the occasion. An audio guide for adults was provided in eight languages (Dutch, French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Japanese), and one for children in four languages (Dutch, French, English and German). The audio guides were included in the exhibition ticket. You can listen to the complete audio guide again via the link on our “Van Eyck from home” page.
In addition, the museum organised tours and discussion panels for Non-native Dutch speakers. These tours and panels provided an accessible introduction to language and used the exhibition as a starting point for conversation.
Families were also welcome to discover the exhibition. There was an audio guide for children aged 6 to 12 (available in Dutch, French, English and German) and a Van Eyck search booklet with stamps and games that guided them through the galleries.
Families could also join the Van Eyck studio with activities and workshops, included in the exhibition ticket. After the exhibition closed, we provided extra do-it-yourself games on our “Van Eyck from home”-page so families could get creative from home.
Van Eyck studio
We installed a Van Eyck studio in museum gallery 5: a creative space in which all visitors could draw, do crafts or reflect on their visit. The studio was also the end of the children’s quest. On the workshop tables there were materials and simple assignments or games for every creative visitor.
Twice a week, you could join in with entry-level workshops hosted by our museum guides. Reading sessions and drawing workshops provided an even more barrier-free introduction to Jan van Eyck and his world.
Late Night Van Eyck
On 4 March 2020, the MSK youth collective organised its own nocturne. The entire evening, everyone under 26 was invited to come closer to Van Eyck. At the same time live music, guided tours, creativity in the Van Eyck studio, photography and drinks provided an unforgettable experience. The evening was completely sold out and more than 500 youngsters found their way to the museum.
People with a hearing disability
The exhibition was fully accessible to people with a hearing disability. Hearing impaired could listen to the audio guide or guide on their hearing aid via the mobile telecoil. There were group tours with interpreter in sign language and the audio texts were offered digitally. Visitors could also download a tour in Flemish Sign Language from the HeritageApp.
Visually impaired could experience the exhibition with a museum guide and tactile drawings of important works. In addition there were “visual whisperers” available to guide the visitor through the exhibition. They provided the necessary descriptive explanation of the works of art.
The guided tours for the visually impaired, which have been a regular part of the MSK public program for years, also continued during “Van Eyck”. The specialised guides accompanied groups through the exhibition, with tactile support and descriptive explanations.
People with autism
The MSK, in collaboration with Tourism for Autism, provided an autism-friendly step-by-step plan and a sensory map in order to prepare the visit in the best possible way.