According to ICOM (2022) a museum is not for profit, permanent institution with the service of society that researches, interpret and exhibit tangible and intangible heritage. Open to the public, accessible and inclusive, foster diversity and sustainability.
They operate and communicate optically, professionally and with the participation of communities, offering varied experience for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing. National museum, Benin was established in 1973. It is located at the city Centre of king’s square. The museum has a significant number of artifacts and the Alonge photographic exhibition related to the Benin Empire. The museum houses artifacts such as bronze figurines, terracotta and cast iron pieces. National museum, Benin is a tourist centre.
People with special needs are people with positive and negative learning needs. They include gifted/talented children, people with disabilities (mobility, visual impairment, hearing impairment, autism and developmental disability). However, the committee for Education and cultural Action (CECA) of international council museums (ICOM) included special groups who have some disadvantages because of their academic, economic or social levels and conditions among people with special needs. These groups are executives, ethnic minorities, house wives and the poor among others.
National museum, Benin is an accessible museum that positively accepts and welcomes people with special needs in its gallery as well as includes them in its various organized programmes. It is an inclusive museum open to all and makes people of diverse conditions and background feel valued, respected and supported.
National museum, Benin for the purpose of accessibility and inclusiveness have:
- Strived to be inclusive and offer opportunities for diverse participation despite the challenges brought by Covid-19.
- Provide the entire public with physical intellectual access to the museum and its resources.
VARIOUS WAYS OF PROMOTING AND POPULARIZING THE MUSEUM
- INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCE: People with special needs have different needs and capabilities. These varies from person to person. They have different needs even among people with the same disabilities. Some requires assistance and others need more individualized services. The museum tailors their participation in museum services according to their individual needs to get the best experience and fulfillment as a museum visitor.
- OUTREACH PROGRAMMES: National museum, Benin through its Education department organizes museum-oriented seminars, workshop and holiday programmes and such as art workshops on printing, drawing, sculpture and handcraft are organized.
- PARTNERING WITH GIFTED CHILDREN: These are children whose metacognitive skills are above average. The museum partners with them with the Education department taking them on a guided tour through the museum. This programme enables them to learn at their own pace. These programme results in the development of their metacognitive skills, independence, confidence and self-efficiency.
IMPACTS OF MUSEUM ACTIVITIES ON PEOPLE WITH SEPCIAL NEEDS
- The museum is a conducive place to be because of its accessibility and well trained staff. National museum, Benin is a place where these people are well-understood, accepted and appreciated.
- National museum, Benin serves as a trainer in skill acquisition organized during the holidays which can make them to earn a living.
- National museum, Benin is a place which inspires people with special needs to see a future where people of disabilities (disabled and non-disabled) integrate.
- The programmes creates ‘I can do it’ mentality in them.
- Museum makes them smarter and creates in them interest in an area of study.
National museum, Benin is a tourist attraction exhibitions and recreational activities for the general public. Visit National Museum, Benin today.