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Our investee: Museum in the Dark "Three after midnight"

How to adapt and even develop a social enterprise under war conditions? The Museum in the Dark "Three after midnight" shares their experience.

The Museum in the Dark "Three after midnight" is the first and only museum in Ukraine, where all tours take place in absolute darkness and are accompanied by blind guides. The company also works in the edutainment format which means that it combines entertainment and educational components. Thanks to the museum, everyone can have a unique experience that changes the way people perceive the world. This is an opportunity to learn more about the capabilities of our body, as well as how blind people live - and even ask them any questions in person.



The Museum in the Dark "Three After Midnight" is a social enterprise whose mission is to destroy the stereotypical attitude towards blind people, provide them with jobs and make art accessible to everyone.

Since 2017, more than 35,000 people have attended their events (tours, interactive events, etc.). The team has also engaged more than 10 blind guides and musicians, as well as created nearly 100 tactile art pieces.

In the spring, the team became one of the winners of the Rapid Response Grant Program for Social Entrepreneurs, which was implemented by the Ukrainian Social Venture Fund and SILab Ukraine.



How did the enterprise change after the full-scale invasion?

«Already in March, we started to resume our activities, to think of new formats and how we can be useful for our society. At first, it seemed that our activity was irrelevant now. In fact, everything except for businesses helping with basic needs seemed irrelevant. But later, we realized that we have formats that can really help people. For example, interactive activities for children»

So, the team decided to restore the interactive activities in an online format and free of charge for all children. Both museum guides and presenters were involved in the work. As of the end of June, almost 1,000 children have participated in interactive activities.

"Also in the spring, with the support of the Ukrainian Social Venture Fund, we managed to develop a bot, which allowed us to implement the same interactive activities, but it is independent. Children learn about interesting facts there, participate in interactive activities, share their stories and they really like it."

Has the enterprise thought about relocation?

"We had a plan to move to Lviv and we thought about temporarily closing in Kyiv but in May people started calling and asking about excursions. There were more and more calls and our guides returned. Then, we started conducting tours. At first, the feelings were strange because the general situation did not change, but it turned out that this psychological discharge benefited everyone: both the visitors and the team. After all, our activity is not just entertainment, it is an opportunity to rethink a lot of things. Everyone needs motivation and inspiration"

What fears did you have?

"Actually, we could manage everything but the issue of darkness was the most worrying. After all, the question was whether people would want to plunge into darkness after dark bomb shelters. We understand that this is a very traumatic experience for all of us, which, unfortunately, we had to go through. But there is still a flow of people, we keep working and the demand is stable.
 
 We even have a very cool story. There was one of the first couples who visited our museum even before the official opening. They came to us for their first date there after meeting each other in the bomb shelter"

What prejudices does a social enterprise face?

Alina Marnenko said that one of the main prejudices in their activities is the fear of coming to an excursion and seeing and listening to sad blind guides. This prejudice is based on the stereotypical image of a blind person but in reality, the experience that a person acquires thanks to the enterprise’s team forces one to rethink many things, especially the attitude towards people and the environment. This is the superpower of the team of the "Three after midnight" Museum.

In the following publications about the transformation of the social enterprise Museum in the Dark "Three After Midnight", we will talk about the future plans of the enterprise to work with people who lost their sight as a result of the russian invasion of the territory of Ukraine.

We would like to remind you that the Museum in the Dark "Three After Midnight" received support within the framework of the Grant program "Social Enterprises for Emergency", implemented by the Ukrainian Social Venture Fund and SILab Ukraine.

The program was made possible thanks to the Collaborate for Impact project, which is implemented in partnership with EVPA with the support of DG NEAR EU Programme.