“Pompeii for All: Silent Visits”: Presentation of inclusion initiatives. Result of Memorandum of Understanding between National Agency for the Deaf and the Archaeological Park of Pompeii

Pompeii becomes ever more inclusive and accessible. Thanks to the Memorandum of Understanding between Pompeii and the National Agency for the Deaf - Naples Provincial Section (‘ENS’), it will be possible for deaf people to take advantage of dedicated support, in order to better enjoy the site of Pompeii, and more fully appreciate the charm and atmosphere of the place. Specialised mother-tongue LIS workers for the deaf have been specially trained by the staff of the Archaeological Park in order to be able to structure a visit to the site which is adapted to the specific needs of the deaf, thereby allowing them to overcome yet another barrier to accessing our cultural heritage.

This morning, Thursday 22nd November 2018, Director General Massimo Osanna and Elvira Sepe, President of the ENS Naples Provincial Section have presented the project which is the result of this collaboration. Immediately after the presentation, a brief guided tour in Italian Sign Language was conducted from the Piazza Anfiteatro entrance.

Users who in turn would like to take advantage of the service will find all relevant information and references on the dedicated page of the website: http://www.pompeiisites.org/ and at http://napoli.ens.it/servizi-e-convenzioni/guida-in-lis, where one can find participation forms and periodic newsletters related to participation in the LIS guided tours. Alternatively one can get in touch at mailnapoli@ens.it. The service will begin on an experimental basis.

This constitutes one of a variety of activities which together form part of the framework of Park initiatives which seek to improve the level of access and enjoyment at the site, in line with the principles declared by the 'European Year of Cultural Heritage' on the subject of accessibility for museums, archaeological sites and sites of artistic interest more generally, for people with motor, sensory and cognitive disabilities. The 'Pompeii for All' route, which was initially conceived as a facilitated itinerary to allow visitors with motor disabilities or families with pushchairs to more comfortably explore over 3km of the archaeological area, and access the most important domus, but today incorporates the various accessibility initiatives at the site, was the first step in this direction. The experimental system of With-Me bracelets - devices aimed at ensuring a safe visit and monitoring disabled visitors - also forms part of this.

"The abolition of every tangible or intangible barrier to the enjoyment and appreciation of cultural heritage is an act of fundamental dignity, though not yet entirely taken for granted”, declares Director General, Massimo Osanna. “The inclusive approach to the enjoyment of archaeological heritage is a great strength, and a moment of social and cultural enrichment for all categories of visitors”.

“The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Archaeological Park of Pompeii”, - declares Elvira Sepe, ENS President - “is a further step towards the true breaching of communication barriers. True accessibility for deaf people can only be achieved thanks to the sensitivity of people like Director Osanna. Thanks to this important initiative, we can guarantee deaf people the possibility of access and enjoyment at one of the world’s most important archaeological sites. The lack of attention which has, until now, confronted deaf people has not granted us the opportunity to fully understand the true value of the artistic and cultural heritage of our city and nation. Now, thanks to this important step made by the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, I feel sure than more and more museums will take the path of full accessibility for deaf people.”