A Gallery with Enhanced Access for Visitor
Anubhav is a special tactile gallery that aims to expand access for all visitors, particularly visitors with disabilities. It has on display 22 tactile replicas of museum objects, carefully chosen from the vast collection of National Museum by its curators representing 5000 years of Indian art. The idea is to provide a rich and engaging experience to visitors aesthetically, historically and intellectually. The objects range from archaeological finds, sculptures, tactile impressions of paintings, utilitarian objects, ethnographic objects and decorative arts.
The Gallery has been developed with the help of Unesco, Saksham (an NGO working with blind persons), Open Knowledge Community (OKC), Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT) and the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD). The Gallery allows full tactile access accompanied by an audio-guide and Braille labels. It has been designed completely pro-buono by Mr. Amardeep Labana and his team who is an architect and a volunteer at National Museum. The Audio-guide and other interpretations have been developed with assistance from Mr. Siddhant Shah who also works with Museum and access. The Museum is committed to further enrich the experience by training and sensitizing its staff and volunteers.
Why this Gallery?
National Museum continuously works towards improving its facilities for visitors – children, tourists and cultural enthusiasts. The overall objective is to make the Museum inclusive for all. While a small percentage of the Museum’s visitor base comprises of people with disabilities, in the past one year the Museum has succeeded in increasing its visibility among this section by collaborating with organizations working for people with disabilities and developing programmes which are specially designed for visually impaired visitors. Programmes, such as storytelling sessions for visually impaired audiences, tactile exhibition displays, workshops/seminars, and touch tour of select museum objects for museum walk-ins are a few tailor-made programmes which were developed and implemented in 2014 to increase participation of visitors from all sections of society.
This endeavour is also in line with the initiatives started in the last year. In October 2014, National Museum was invited to a National conference and Exhibition on ICTs for persons with disabilities: Taking Stock and Identifying Opportunities. The conference was organized by UNESCO. At this conference it was decided that National Museum will examine its museum’s accessibility – physical and intellectual. As a follow up, National Museum’s Education department and Outreach department met members from the Cultural Sector of UNESCO, Saksham and National platform for the rights of the disabled (NPRD).