The current works, which concerns the junction between the city centre and the museum, incorporate a suitable covering allowing easy movement for the PRM (flat pavers and access ramps). In the wake, the new layout of the reception hall and the Horeca area was also the subject of special attention: counter and adapted sanitary facilities, access ramps. These tools will be available as of July 2023.
However, the heart of the site is a historic residence. Its structure was initially not intended for the movement of people with reduced mobility. Indeed, it was even a matter of putting one or two steps systematically at the entrance of each room to avoid possible flooding of the nearby Dendre. Fortunately, the restoration works have even included elevators in the tour circuit.
We now inherit that situation. It is of course impossible and forbidden to alter the existing structure irreversibly. From then on, we studied the possibility of placing removable inclined planes in order to facilitate access to PRM in an institution that wants – and should – be inclusive, especially for people with fragile access to culture.
Inclined plans were made a few years ago. If they were made with the best intentions in the world, it is clear that they are difficult to practice, because their inclination had not been studied.
Our Alderman of Culture and Heritage, Mr Dimitri Wittenberg, who is particularly sensitive to the issue since he travels himself in a wheelchair, took the initiative to contact the carpentry section of an athenaeum near the museum. The aim here is to kill two birds with one stone: an educational partnership that will raise students’ awareness of the inequalities encountered by PRMs and a full-scale professional exercise in an exceptional site where their work will be valued. Moreover, they themselves are not accustomed to visiting museums, so it is possible to demystify their approach. On the museum side, we will finally have a site fully accessible to people who have difficulty moving as well as young parents equipped with a stroller.
We thank the National Lottery for its financial support for the construction of the new ramps for PMR.