- Title: Initiative lends sight to the blind in Lebanese museum
- Date: 5th November 2018
- Summary: BEIRUT, LEBANON (OCTOBER 29, 2018) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF VISUALLY-IMPAIRED PRESIDENT OF OMERO TACTILE MUSEUM IN ITALY, ALDO GRASSINI, TOUCHING ANCIENT SARCOPHAGUS ON DISPLAY AT BEIRUT NATIONAL MUSEUM
- Embargoed: 19th November 2018 13:34
- Keywords: Museums opened for the visually-impaired in Lebanon The National Museum in Beirut People with Disabilities in Lebanon Lebanese art
- Location: BEIRUT, LEBANON
- City: BEIRUT, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Art,Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA001958BGID
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: While museums typically urge people not to touch artifacts, an initiative in Lebanon is urging some to do just the opposite in order to allow visually impaired people to fully experience museums.
With the launch of the new "Doors: Please Touch" initiative last week, dozens of blind and visually impaired people came to the National Museum of Beirut and ran their fingers across the surfaces of exhibits.
Visually impaired visitors are touching the original works but at a later stage they will be touching replicas in order to protect the antiquities.
Signs detailing information about the antiquities now carry Braille, next to Arabic, English and French.
"The museum will be for everybody, it's necessary, because it's a right for everyone to take part in the cultural life and to enjoy works of art," said Nadina Abou Zaki, the founder and executive director of Red Oak Organisation which is leading the initiative locally.
The initiative was launched by the local Red Oak Organisation, in cooperation with Italy's Omero Tactile Museum, whose president is himself visually-impaired.
"It was very interesting for us to be able to talk about our experience in a country where thinking about blind people having effective accessibility to art had probably not yet started," Aldo Grassini said.
In addition to the National Museum of Beirut, a number of museums will welcome visually-impaired people as part of the initiative, including Sursock Museum and MACAM Museum.
Representatives of Omero Tactile Museum, which is said to be Italy's only museum offering tactile vision of artworks, will organise training workshops on how to help visitors with disabilities.
For museum visitor Anny, being included in the museum through the initiative has been a beautiful experience, she said.
"Earlier we were here but there was no writing Braille or so. Now it's beautiful," she said.
The multi-sensory experience that blind visitors will have also relies on audio-guides, as well as Braille and touching exhibits.
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