Penn Museum Invites Blind Visitors to Touch Artifacts

Hands-on tours offered every Monday.

AP has a story about “hands-on” tours at Penn Museum, allowing blind visitors to get their hands on artifacts that would otherwise have a look-but-don’t-touch status for visitors.

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.

The free tours include a classroom lesson on how Egyptians prepared a body for burial. Students jiggled a gelatin mold of the brain — which is removed during the mummification process — and handled facsimiles of relics found in tombs. They also felt ancient linen, smelled scented oils and touched a reproduction of a mummy.

Read the whole thing. Penn Museum’s hands-on tours are held twice on Mondays, when the museum is otherwise closed.