(Washington Post) At some museums, blind visitors can touch the art

Picture this National Gallery

Kilof Legge of the District uses a monocular to examine the painting “The Dancing Couple,” by Dutch artist Jan Steen, during the “Picture This” tour at the National Gallery of Art in May. (Jonathan Newton/Washington Post)

My article “At some museums, blind visitors can touch the art” appears in the Washington Post.

Here’s the lede:

Before this April, Kathy Nimmer had visited an art museum only “somewhat hesitantly” as part of a group. The English teacher, who has been blind since the third grade, says she felt at the mercy of sighted guides’ descriptions. “It’s not a very independent experience,” Nimmer says.

So when Nimmer learned that she would be visiting the Smithsonian Museums in late April as a finalist for national teacher of the year from Indiana, she asked the Council of Chief State School Officers, which runs the teacher awards, to arrange a tour at the American Art Museum, where she had heard about programming for blind visitors.

In the hour she spent at the museum, Nimmer donned gloves and touched three sculptures: Douglas Tilden’s “The Young Acrobat” (1891), Hugo Robus’s “Water Carrier” (1956) and Chaim Gross’s “Happy Children” (1973).

“It was the first time that I felt connected with art in a similar way as my sighted colleagues,” Nimmer says. “It was deeply moving.”

Update: Columbia Daily Tribune and the News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) have run the article as well.


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