Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Museums and the Blind

Clarissa Thorpe, New Canberra research investigating ways to make museums more accessible to vision impaired, abc news, 10 August 2015

Enjoying a day out at an art gallery or museum is almost impossible for someone who is blind or vision impaired.

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Using touch only to explore a museum item. Photo: Clarissa Thorpe.

But University of Canberra PhD student Beaux Guarini told 666 ABC Canberra he has been investigating ways of making beautiful artworks, sculptures and historic items more accessible.

“It’s certainly a challenge to walk through a museum with low vision and I’m very mindful of the fact that around 120,000 Australians experience blindness and 740,000 have low-vision conditions, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration,” he said.

“So it’s a significant number of people who are affected.

“As part of my doctoral study I’ve been walking with people with low vision through museum exhibits to find out what works, and what doesn’t work.

“And some of the obstacles we have found are that most items are locked in glass display cases, and that’s a real barrier of experience that is very alienating.”

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