Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Features

December 10, 2013

Please touch!

Pennsylvania museum allows touch tours for blind and visually impaired

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Angel Ayala has never been a big fan of museums. Blind since birth, the high school student says the exhibits are so sight-dependent that he can't enjoy them.

But he's making an exception for the Penn Museum, an archaeology and anthropology center that offers touch tours for the blind and visually impaired. Ayala can now feel the eroded limestone of an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus and the intricate hieroglyphs on the statue of a pharaoh.

"When I touch things, it's my version of a sighted person's eyes. It tells me way more than a person describing it would ever," Ayala said.

The institution, which is part of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, began offering the tours last year in an effort to make their extensive collections more accessible. Museums should serve the community at large, and that includes the unsighted as well as the sighted, said program coordinator Trish Maunder.

"Just because a person has low vision or can't see, doesn't mean that they're not completely interested in culture or learning about ancient artifacts," Maunder said.

Most major U.S. metro areas have at least one museum that offers some type of hands-on experience, from touching objects with bare hands or gloves to feeling replicas, according to Art Beyond Sight, a group that makes visual culture accessible to the blind and visually impaired.

Such accommodations began well before the Americans with Disabilities Act and have increased as museums "have transformed from institutions that house objects to institutions that work with audiences," said Nina Levent, executive director of the New York-based art organization.

Museums that don't offer tactile tours often have personal or audio guides for the blind. But Levent contends that developing touch components can benefit a wide range of visitors, including children's groups and students with learning disabilities.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Obama Contraception [Duplicate] Quelling controversy WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to quell a politically charged controversy, the Obama administration announced new measures Friday to allow religious nonprofits and some companies to opt out of paying for birth control for female employees while still ensu

    August 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Homes Decorating Retreats QA-18 [Duplicate] Inspired designs DALLAS (AP) — From airy beach houses filled with light to rustic retreats tucked into the mountains, vacation homes can lead to inspired decorating. "You love that place, that's why you're there. That's the place you want to go to relax," says Dallas

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • ROSEMOND: Parents should take 5-year-old's 'touching' seriously Q: Our 5-year-old grandson sees his 5-year-old female first cousin from time to time. After they play for a while, he tells her he wants to “touch” her. This has happened twice in recent months. Her parents are very upset, but our grandson’s p

    August 21, 2014

  • Tech Tips MALVERN, Iowa (AP) — As my two-year contract with Verizon came to an end last month, I had to resist the company's various promotions and discounts. In accepting the offers, I'd have to give up Verizon's unlimited data plan, which lets me use the pho

    August 20, 2014

  • Ebola Plant Medicines-30 [Duplicate] Plant medicines NEW YORK (AP) — It's an eye-catching angle in the story of an experimental treatment for Ebola: The drug comes from tobacco plants that were turned into living pharmaceutical factories. Using plants this way — sometimes called "pharming" — can produc

    August 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Food Labor Day-6 [Duplicate] Labor Day cookout ideas Burgers. Dogs. Steaks. Maybe some sausages. We know you’ve got the grilling part of your Labor Day cookout covered. So rather than mess with that, we’ll offer up some delicious sides that will complement whatever else you have on the menu.Start with

    August 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amish Cook shares wedding recipe To those of you who may have not read my last letter, my husband Daniel grew up in Danville, Ohio and most of my growing up years were spent here in Flat Rock, Illinois. People keep asking us how we met, being from different states and Amish at that

    August 18, 2014

  • Healton 01 Half a Century and Happy: The Healtons Lester Healton’s mother and Ethel Huse’s mother thought it would be a good idea that their kids met.They never had any intentions of playing matchmaker, or the two dating, much less marrying each other. They only wanted Lester to come out of his shel

    August 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • SeaWorld plans bigger killer whale environments NEW YORK (AP) — Stung by criticism of its treatment of killer whales, SeaWorld said Friday that it will build new, larger environments at its theme parks and will fund additional research on the animals along with programs to protect ocean health and

    August 17, 2014

  • Pets Jealousy-3 [Duplicate] Envious pets LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Shetland sheepdog Maggie comes home from the groomer, her owners praise and pet her shiny coat, much to the chagrin of pit bull Stormy, who will head-butt her until their family cuts out the compliments.“Stormy’s jealous,” sai

    August 16, 2014 2 Photos

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller