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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Museum touch tours

Did you know that many museums--including the Met, MoMA and Whitney--will allow blind or partially sighted people to come on private tours so they can touch and experience the artwork? How amazing. Photographer Matt Ducklo took photos of these "touch tours." I find them so moving.
(Via Rion)

55 comments:

Diana Mieczan said...

I didn't know that - how awesome and the second photograph blew me away. You can totally feel the connection there. Happy Tuesday. xo

SushiandStrudel said...

In the summer of 2006, I studied abroad in Paris. We were viewing Rodin's sculptures, and my group witnessed this in person. It was one of the most magnificent and awe-inspiring things to see. Thanks for sharing!
http://sushiandstrudel.com

Sharon Beesley said...

oh wow!! amazing!!

ohbeautifulblog said...

Wow that is really cool!

Molly said...

Beautiful pictures and so heartwarming to see.

In Florence's Uffizi there are several touch experience through art as well now, and Botticelli's painting, The Birth of Venus, now has a bas relief in white resin next to it that allows a visitor who can't see this amazing masterpiece with the eyes to touch it and feel Venus's hair, the flowers, the trees, and the amazing details of this Renaissance masterpiece. It's so inspiring!

Luna said...

Diana said it best. I was moved by that second photo too.

PoetessWug said...

Awwww! What a great thing to do!

AVY said...

People sometimes ask me if I'd rather be blind or deaf. For me it's an easy choice, imagine being deprived of seeing all that beautiful art.

/ Avy
http://MyMotherFuckedMickJagger.blogspot.com



Char said...

Amazing and very touching for sure! Thanks for posting.
Char xo
www.itsacharmlife.blogspot.com

thalassamov said...

A great thing to read!
Allready witnessed it in Athens, such an emotional experience to observe how the blind see and feel art!
All over Europe,you can find similar museum and gallery "actions",while next to several monuments or old city centres there are models/miniatures for the blind to touch-see and read.
It's a start,we have a long way to go!

Votre Amie said...

Incredible and lovely. Warms my heart!
x

stephanie said...

You are right, they are incredibly moving. My eyes welled up at that first one. Thanks for sharing.

Anna said...

Really beautiful, indeed! Glad to have seen these.

Phoenix general contractor said...

Oh! such a fabulous idea, feeling things by mere touch and seeing them through inward eyes! Photographer has just injected lives into the photos! so touchy.

the gracious gaze said...

wow -- that is wonderful.

xo,
Kim

Lauren said...

I only just heard about museums letting people do this the other day, it's really sweet. these photos are very atmospheric and moving. xxx

http://www.teaforowls.blogspot.co.uk/

Erin said...

This is so beautiful. What a tender way to start my day. xo

Liz said...

I've seen the plaque at the Met next to some of the Egyptian statues, but these photographs! Oh my. Amazing.

ElsaD said...

Never heard of this initiative! Amazing! Thanks for sharing! xoxo

Skylark Studio said...

whoah, instant tears on that one. beautiful!

Lisa said...

i had never heard of that but it is brilliant!
in dramatic fashion

sherryyo said...

I had no idea this happens! Wow.... Thanks for sharing this.

the obsessive imagist said...

As someone who works at the Whitney (and has worked at MoMA and studied with curators at the Met), I can tell you that these tours are truly extraordinary. It is a very big deal, conservation-wise, to figure out ways to allow visitors to physically engage with the work. Thankfully, however, it has been made a priority in order to welcome the blind and partially sighted community into our stereotypically visual environment, which otherwise may seem confounding or impossibly overwhelming. We are lucky to live in an age where these considerations are being made. More and more people should be able to experience the wonder that ensues in front of a great work of art; these programs are making it happen! Thanks for highlighting them.

Andie said...

That's incredibly moving! Thanks for sharing that!

Lux said...

Maybe it's because I'm a little sensitive today, but this got me teary eyed. This is so nice!

Lux said...

OK, nevermind, I see I'm not the only one :)

tara polly said...

something about this makes me a little more hopeful about the fate of humanity. amazing!

Susannah said...

I don't know why, but this makes me want to cry. Beautiful.

Petunia Face said...

What a stunningly beautiful idea, and the photos match. This is exactly what art is for.

Thanks for sharing.

Julie said...

Thanks so much for posting about Touch Tours Jo! There are so many amazing resources available at museums all over the city for visitors with disabilities.

The Rubin offers really great verbal description and touch tours too! The tours engage not only the sense of touch, but also smell and sound with incense and traditional Himalayan music.

http://www.rma2.org/pages/load/276

Anonymous said...

So moving!

ryan said...

I watched a blind person touch Stonehenge a few years back. What a different experience it must be!

Notes from Holly St. said...

that's wonderful and so moving to see them connect with the art work on such a personal level.

POWDER GREY said...

WOW! I like the sound of that able to explore art by touch, brilliant.. Great post.

Meredith said...

That's one of my favorite museums in the second photo. So glad to see the Dixon in Memphis supporting this!

Like "the obsessive imagist" above, I work in museums (and set the rules for traveling exhibitions). There are countless reasons why one should NOT touch works of art (it really is damaging to the objects, especially with repeated touching), but I'm glad that exceptions are made to share this with people who could not experience the art, otherwise.

{Liana} said...

Moving is right. Of course museums should do that, but it never occurred to me, and I'm so happy to know that now. My heart is smiling:)

citybird said...

These are such great photos!

I'm currently studying museology at the Ecole du Louvre and one of the major topics this year has been about increasing museum accessibility and inherently changing the museum experience. The musée du Louvre has a Tactile Gallery originally targeted to the blind and visually impaired but it has quickly become a great way for other visitors (with blindfolds!) to also gain a new experience with the artworks. Touch is a wonderful way to learn about the material, shape and volume of the artworks - your fingertips can "see" details much better than your eyes. This is also a great way for children to experience and understand art!

Thank you for this post!

Trina said...

Wow, that is so amazing. I'd never even thought about this but that is so cool. I wonder how different the museum-going experience would be if we were to go in and base our perceptions solely on touch.

Margo said...

One of my favorite posts of yours! So, so, so touching.

michelle said...

I don't know why this made me tear up! I just adore this, what a beautiful approach, so happy museums are doing this. I'm sure the artists themselves would be so pleased.

Sarah Carlson said...

This is beautiful. Thank you, Joanna!

Sarah Carlson said...

This is beautiful. Thank you, Joanna!

Tati said...

The Brooklyn Museum is excellent for that - they have a whole set of Rodin sculptures outside that you can touch. The Art Institute in Chicago also has these little tablets that "sculpt" out what several famous paintings would look like if they were sculptures, so the visually impaired can "see" paintings, too.

Kate said...

Wow, I didn't know this! That's really interesting, and such a lovely idea. x

Kate {Something Fabulous}
http://thesomethingfabulous.blogspot.com

{BESO HANDBAGS GIVEAWAY ON MY BLOG!}

Carlyree said...

Moved to tears. Reminder to cherish every single gift, especially tthose we take for granted every single day, like the blessing of sight. Thanks for sharing these.

Cathg1g2 said...

Moving and beautiful.

Anonymous said...

This is great and a little surprising to me, but I guess that there are relatively few people who would take advantage of this, so it doesn't create big problems. It brings to mind a traumatic experience I had when I was 8 years old! I was visiting the art museum of the New England liberal arts college it turns out I was to later attend (and majored in art.) They have a significant collection of Assyrian art, including some reliefs which are permanently installed in the foyer. I, being a little kid, leaned in to touch one and got yelled at by the guard, who not-so-nicely explained that if everyone touched them, the oils from their hands would destroy the artwork. Now whenever I visit a museum I like to lean in to see detail and brushstrokes, but I am paranoid about making sure I do not appear to be about the touch the works.

texy jo said...

Also, many botanical gardens curate specific areas for the enjoyment of blind and vision-impaired visitors, where every plant either smells wonderful (like Jasmine) or is compelling to touch (like Lamb's Ear). The Brooklyn Botanical Garden has one (or did the last time I was there).

Anonymous said...

Love the tours, but I found the photos unsettling. Artistically I don't like that he has made the person who is blind almost invisible (blurry or hidden).

It seems like such an intimate moment to capture, and i feel like the photo composition is made to make the blind person merge with the sculpture, which feels like they are being de-personalized... which happens a lot to people with disabilities.

Maybe I'm over thinking, but it seems like this would be a cool opportunity to show how a blind person "Sees/absorbs/takes in" information from an object usually "off limits", that image is warm, close up, captured in their facial expression or their hands.

Maybe his is trying to say something else with these images. Did anyone else take this view?

Amber said...

Thank you for this.

My son is blind. I read through every comment and I was hoping/waiting to see someone other commentator who is blind or related to a blind person. I have found it difficult to find places around me in MD that offer such opportunity. The blind at large are a very isolated community due to many reasons and until something forces change, nothing is really done. I am grateful for the pioneers who have created the stir for art museums to really make themselves available to the visually impaired. Where I live, I found that I am one of the "pioneers" and it's rather difficult at times because people want to say "there's nothing we can really do" or they think that minimal effort is sufficient. I have also come across prejudice because my son is only 2 and people don't understand why I want to expose him to such experiences as museums or theatres, it even happens when I ask for braille menus at restaurants. I think I might just have to take long weekends to request such tours. : )

Carrie said...

Manhattan museums (and the Brooklyn Museum, which has an incredibly friendly and open staff on this issue) have wonderful accessibility features. Touch tours are but one (amazing) of these features, and I am willing to bet that many of the museums are open for suggestions for improving their accessibility to all museum-goers. (I did research on this issue several years ago as a grad student in disability studies and many of the personnel I spoke to seemed quite interested in developing in this area.)

Jen S said...

Seriously! Im crying at the coffee shop! Maybe because Im over tired and PMSing :) but that first picture is probably one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen..... TEARS!

Veronica said...

Incredible. I love that.

4utea said...

i love the rose bush, but oh so many more as well. thanks for the chance to win! cheap prom dresses

Megan M-R said...

That's amazing!!

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