According to the World Health Organization there are an estimated 45 million blind people and 135 million people with low vision in the world. Many travel, and want to experience all of the pleasures the world has to offer to the best of their abilities. Most countries have Disability Laws for access to social programs. This includes all public accommodations, including museums and galleries of all sizes everywhere.
Museums and galleries around the world are searching for inexpensive, effective and easily adopted tours that include people with disabilities. This session demonstrates how to create a dynamic program for the blind and people with low vision of all ages that engages the visitor and is cost effective. It will help overcome the barriers of uncertainty in communication, enabling guides to teach what all museum personnel and volunteers love to teach, to an audience waiting to learn.
To meet the requirements of most Disability Acts, expand your visitor base and reach this audience, the session will provide an outline on how to create tactile graphics and extend the aesthetic experience through touch, emotion and smell. We will conclude by reviewing actual tours given and offer survey results received by both docents and visitors.
The arts are powerful tools for developing the right side of the brain, for healing, for communication, for making life’s experiences richer. It is the right of everyone to enjoy these experiences to the fullest of one’s ability. Eliminating the hurdles to accommodate people we often overlook in a museum setting can be inexpensive, easy to institute, and can result in a wonderful experience for the museum staff, volunteers and the visitor. This Tactile Tour program is written for professionals and volunteers of any size museum who give tours.
|Keywords:||Accessibility, Aesthetic Experience, Art, Docent Training, Inclusive Programming, Museums, Sensitivity Training, Tactile Tours|
Voluteer Docent, Docent Education Department, Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
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