Penn Museum brings exhibit to visually impaired

September 24, 2012 2:33:59 PM PDT
A new exhibit at Penn Museum in University City is giving the visually impaired the opportunity to experience history in a whole new way.

Blind since childhood, Blessing Offor is one of the people who is getting a feel for ancient Egyptian history.

"This is amazing! You can go up into the art and experience it in whatever way you want to," Blessing said.

It's all thanks to the museum's Touch Tours, created for the blind and visually impaired.

"When you actually have a chance to touch things up close, you get a much deeper perspective," said participant Suzanne Erb.

Suzanne's first experience is helping museum docent Mike Doyle understand how he needs to change the tour.

"I have to try to be conceivably more descriptive and bring more sense into it," Doyle said.

Organizers carefully selected six pieces for the tour. Trish Maunder, whose daughter is blind, knew what pieces would have an impact.

"It was finding things on a human scale, things that would have an interesting story, interesting texture," Maunder said.

The star of the museum is a sphinx and, because of that, they didn't want to leave it out of the tour. Bus, since the visually impaired can't reach the top of it, they made a replica. That way, the visually impaired can feel the top and the face.

The program runs every Monday through December 10th. It's so popular, the museum hopes to get another grant to extend it.

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Online: Penn Museum website


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