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Arts & Culture

In This Museum, You Can See With Your Mind’s Eye

Jack Morgan
Lindsey Smith

There’s a new kind of tour happening at the San Antonio Museum of Art. We went by SAMA to find out more.

“That’s correct. We have our tours for the visually impaired.”

SAMA’s Lindsey Smith explains the tours.

“And they’re offered at 10 o’ clock the first Saturday of every month, where visitors are invited on a sensory experience of works of art in the museum’s collection.”

How can they appreciate art in a museum without being able to see it?

“Because there are so many stories we can tell them at the galleries, and we have sighted guides that can describe and explain works of art — where they come from and what these objects were used for, and how they’re connected to everyday life, and how they’re connected to the ancient world. Sighted guides and wheelchairs and Guide Dogs are welcome in the museum.”

How does it play out?

“We gather in the auditorium on the first Saturday of every month. There are three topics, and we usually see about five objects each tour.”

There’s also an interesting touch aspect to these tours.

“They touch reproductions of the objects.”

And you’ve got something that, like Braille, sticks out a bit.

“This Braille-like outline of the figures on the vessel allows visitors to read the stories with their fingers.  The story can be told and felt on the guided tour.”

What has the reaction been like, to this?

“Huge, positive feedback.”

Now they’re adding yet another sense.

“And that’s something that’s normally stripped [away] in museums. Museums are a sterile environment.”

We have more on the San Antonio Museum of Art’s seeing impaired tours at here.