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EUROPEAN YEAR OF CULTURAL HERITAGE 2018. Pompeii for All. Accessibility of Archaeological Sites

2018 has been designated the “European Year of Cultural Heritage”. A year dedicated to celebrations, but also to reflections and national debates, carried out at a national level, on the value that cultural heritage holds for our society, and the different sectors of public and private life.

On the 10th February, the Archaeological Park of Pompeii and the Municipality of Pompeii celebrated the initiative ‘European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. Pompeii for All. Accessibility of Archaeological Sites’ focusing on the theme of accessibility to our cultural heritage, an extremely important issue which is not yet necessarily guaranteed.

The event, organised by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MiBACT), along with the Archaeological Park of Pompeii and the Municipality of Pompeii, aimed to tackle the topic of accessibility for people with motor, sensory and cognitive disabilities, as well as the theme of inclusion, in order to give everyone the opportunity and right to be citizens in all respects, without any kind of distinction. The measures adopted to overcome tangible, intangible and digital barriers in several museums, as well as guidelines, good practises and future prospects, will also be analysed.

At the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, the extension of the itinerary ‘Pompeii for All’ was presented. It aims to facilitate visits for people with motor disabilities and will include a visit to the House of the Geometric Mosaics with the Courtyard of the Moray Eels, and the new experimental system of ‘ConMe’ bracelets, designed to offer an accessible, inclusive and safe visit. The bracelet, worn by disabled visitors, is able to send signals to a central server through electronic identification. This, in turn, processes the signals and performs actions to ensure the visitors’ safety and security. The itinerary ‘Pompeii for All’, which was designed within the framework of the Great Pompeii project and co-funded by the European Union, has already proved to be a model of accessibility by experimenting with new technological support allowing anyone, without any exceptions or exclusions, to enjoy the communal archaeological heritage.

The Defence Paralympic Sports Group and the Guardia di Finanza Fiamme Gialle Paralympic Sports Group participated in the event. Students with different disabilities from the technical secondary school Basilio Focaccia in Salerno, accompanied by nine professors, also attended the event, showing enthusiasm in wanting to wear the experimental ‘ConMe’ bracelet.

In the afternoon, a European conference was held at the Temporary Museum of the Municipality of Pompeii in Piazza Bartolo Longo. The aim of the conference was to illustrate the status of accessibility to cultural heritage in Italy and Europe.

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Link to press conference video