Blind Art Lovers Make The Most Of Museum Visits With 'InSight' Tours
The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. offers twice-a-month tours, led by specially trained docents, to blind and visually impaired visitors.
Carol Wilson trains the 12 volunteer docents. "Sight isn't the only pathway to understand art," she says. Wilson suggests the docents invite visitors to imitate the pose of a sculpture and use other senses in their verbal descriptions.
Sometimes low-vision and blind visitors can actually touch the art — in Latex-free gloves.
* This post is about a note after reading the related article. (go to the article!)
Note; Prior to the mid-1800s, tactile interaction was commonplace for visitors experiencing collections of art, but as museums of art evolved, rules forbidding touch became the norm. In some cases, these were to protect artwork that truly was not meant to be touched, but in large part these norms had nothing do with preservation and everything to do with nineteenth century politics of gender, race and class control.
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Myungja Anna Koh