In the Introduction, we will tell you about the Deaf Museums project and about this Course. We also explain about Museums and about Deaf Museums.
When you want to start a Deaf Museum or a Deaf Exhibition, your first worry may be 'location' or 'money'. Both very important. And for both, you will need help: people to help you find a location, people to help you find funding.
When you're asking for help, especially when you are asking people outside of your own network, you need a good story. Why do you want to start a Museum or Exhibition? What will it be about? Why is this important?
In Chapter 1 of this course, we will tell you more about stories, museums and exhibitions.
In the section 'Museum Views' you can read how mainstream museums use stories.
In the section 'Deaf Perspectives' you can read about the stories that Deaf Museums and the partners in the Deaf Museums project want to tell, and why.
Location is one of the most important things when you're looking for a place to live. It is also the most important, and maybe the most difficult thing, when you're making plans for a museum or exhibition. Where can you build it?
Traditional and most famous museums are located in big cities and in big buildings. This of course is the best way to attract visitors. It is also very expensive.
A solution that is less expensive, definitely in the long term, is a virtual museum on the internet. But visitors behave differently in a virtual museum.
The best solution of course is a combination of both: a physical museum in a good location, and a website or virtual museum with a lot of 'eye candy' to attract visitors to the real museum.
Location is a big problem for most Deaf Museums, as you can read in this Chapter. Some Deaf Museums are located in Deaf schools, others at the office of a national or regional Deaf Association. Both locations may not be sustainable in the long term.
Mainstream Museums have been experimenting with other options, that may be relevant for Deaf Museums: a Mobile Museum in a bus, a pop-up museum in a shop or library, and even a Museum in a Box.
To tell your story you will need exhibits: objects, photos, videos, people who can tell the story for you.
Again, this is a matter of getting help. You can ask your networks to send you photos, videos, objects. Or you can go and film the stories that you want.
Once you start collecting, you will have to keep track of what you have and who gave it to you. Because you may have to return it to the owner. You will need to keep track of information about the objects and about the people and events in a video or photo. You can do this on cards, but it is best to do it in a database.
You will have to store everything in a safe place where you can find it again - and add this information to the database.
Last but not least: you will have to sort out copyrights and personal data protection: are you allowed to exhibit the photos or videos that people gave you in a public Museum or Exhibition?
Chapter 4: Visitors
Before you start collecting, and maybe even before you decide what story you want to tell, you will have to think about your audience, the visitors who will visit your Museum or Exhibition?
Deaf visitors will have different expectations and different needs than hearing people who are new to the Deaf world. Older people will look for things, people and events that they know about and remember. Children and young people will want stories and exhibits that they can relate to - and that are 'Instagrammable' and interactive (see Chapter 5).
To find out more about the people who may - or may not - visit your Museum or Exhibiton, you will have to do market research to find out as much as possible about them.