This fall, the Penn Museum is offering a new series of tours specially designed for people who are blind and visually impaired. These weekly tours offer visitors the opportunity to experience our collections as never before, by inviting guests with visual impairments to touch, feel, and investigate authentic ancient objects from our Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery through this special program.
This special tour series, called “Insights into Ancient Egypt,” showcases six carefully selected objects from the Museum’s Egyptian collection. The tour story line and artifacts were chosen with the help of Egyptologist Jennifer Wegner, Associate Curator of the Museum’s Egyptian Section, and through feedback from several focus groups over the past year. Planning for the series was organized by the Museum’s Coordinator for Special Tours, Trish Maunder. After some light precautions (removing large rings and bracelets, using oil-removing hand wipes), guests are introduced to each of the six objects and encouraged to explore the details of imagery, scale, texture, and temperature with their hands. The experience presents participants with an experience more intimate than most museums are able to offer.
On Monday, September 24, nearly 20 docents participated in a training session for this upcoming tour series. They received helpful training from seven visitors who were blind or visually impaired, three of whom had seeing eye dogs. Annie McCormick, a new Action News reporter from 6ABC, joined us at the training session; you can watch her report on 6ABC’s website.
“Insights into Ancient Egypt” tours, by appointment only, run Mondays from October 1 through December 10, 2012. Already, most of the tours are booked, but interested groups or individuals should contact the Museum’s Community Engagement Department to register interest in possible future tours by calling 215.746.6774 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The innovative program was made possible through financial support from the BNY Mellon Mid-Atlantic Charitable Trusts and the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation.
Photos: Penn Museum.