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Special guided tours at SCHUNCK

On Monday 25 April, SCHUNCK gave the first of a number of special tours for the Keith Haring: Grace House Mural exhibition, this time for people with a traumatic brain injury. Thanks to these special tours, anyone and everyone can enjoy art and culture.  

This particular tour was aimed specifically at an artists’ group in Sittard, the Creatief Centrum. This centre offers painting courses to people with aphasia who struggle with communication problems as a result of a traumatic brain injury. Although the severity of aphasia may differ, the most commonplace problems are associated with the loss of, or using wrong words. Comprehension of the spoken or written word can also be limited.

Patrick Heckmanns, responsible for SCHUNCK’s educational programming, has this to say: “At SCHUNCK, we believe that everyone should be able to enjoy art or learn something from it. Our series of conducted tours are therefore inclusive in nature. For example, for people with dementia, for whom we have organised tours in the past, but also for those with a traumatic brain injury, such as in this case. These special groups require tours which are tailored to their needs. For instance, we take them round at a slower pace and we do not look at everything. Instead, the guide selects 5 to 6 works and deals with each of these in more detail. Specific questions can be asked to kick-start a discussion with the guide. There are no wrong answers. This way we get to interact.”

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Corinna Sipkema, a coordinator at Creatief Centrum in Sittard explains: “Our painting group has been set up for people with aphasia and we give them the chance to take up painting, drawing or modelling as a hobby. They can do this under the guidance of an experienced teacher or artist and volunteers who support them with their activities, if needed. More recently we’ve started a group for people who have a traumatic brain injury, but no aphasia. They may have motory problems, such as difficulty in walking, or paralysis in one arm, but often non-visible problems, such as restricted concentration, heightened sensitivity and reduced memory. For that reason, we’re delighted that special guided tours like this can be arranged for them.”

One thing that specifically appealed to Corinna was that the tours could be arranged outside normal opening hours. “The groups are small and it’s quiet in the museum space. This way a lot of external stimuli can be eliminated. There is ample space for wheelchairs and people with walking difficulties are able to sit down while the guide is giving his or her presentation. In retrospect we can say it was a great success, not only the guided tour, but the discussion afterwards. Yvette, our guide, received widespread praise from the participants,” adds Corinna.

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