Development of a navigation system for the Joensuu museums
One of the main challenges with developing a working and visitor-friendly navigation system for the Joensuu museums is the heterogeneity of the museum spaces in all three locations. The building of the Joensuu art museum was originally built as a classical boys’ lyceum. The Carelicum building which currently hosts the North Karelian museum was originally a large bank – and the Joensuu bunker museum is indeed a bunker: where making it difficult for visitors to navigate was originally part of the plan.
The project team and museum staff in Joensuu for Museums in Focus: Development of cultural services to Chinese tourists (Part of Karelia Cross Border Cooperation, financed by the European Union, Finland and Russia) met with a specialist on accessible cultural services to plan the museum navigation system. The specialist, Henna Karhapää, currently has a pivotal role in the continued success of the KareliaCBC project CultureOpen: Creating Culture Together (KA3018) in Finland.
Research suggests that accessibility – physical, digital, cultural and linguistic– is key to creating a comfortable environment for all visitors. The ”Culture for All” initiative, supported by the Finnish Ministry for Education and Culture, have published a guide (2009) with concrete instructions on how to develop a museum navigation system that promotes physical, cultural and linguistic accessibility in the exhibition spaces.