For the first time in a major exhibition, the National Museum of Australia is offering a suite of special features for blind, vision and hearing-impaired visitors to the exhibition A History of the World in 100 Objects from the British Museum.
Specially commissioned audio tours, with Auslan (Australian Sign Language) / Conexu video, braille label text and a touch table have been developed by the National Museum to help blind, vision and hearing-impaired visitors get the most out of A History of the World in 100 Objects.
In its only east coast venue, A History of the World in 100 Objects uses items from around the globe to explore the last two million years of human history, sourcing the oldest objects from the British Museum’s collection and incorporating those from the present day.
From stone to gold, clay to plastic, the exhibition traces human experience through objects people have made, including a 1.6 metre tall Assyrian relief, the famous Assyrian clay flood tablet (from modern Iraq) inscribed with the story of a great flood and an ark; and a small, but exquisite, gold llama from Peru.
’The National Museum is keen to ensure that blind, vision and hearing-impaired visitors can enjoy exhibitions like A History of the World in 100 Objects, alongside other Australians,’ said Dr Trinca.
National Museum Diversity and Wellbeing Support Officer (who is himself vision-impaired), Scott Grimley, said, ‘As technology makes it easier for people with a disability to access the world around them, the Museum is showing a commitment to include everyone in the exhibitions it provides.’
The National Museum is offering two audio tours, which are linked to apps that can be downloaded on iPhone and Android devices.
Once downloaded, these apps offer an Auslan video tour and audio descriptions of 20 objects featured in A History of the World in 100 Objects.
The 20 objects have braille and large print identification numbers that can be accessed by blind, vision and hearing impaired visitors and then typed into the handheld devices, to trigger the audio or video tours.
Replica objects, including the flood tablet, several different Lewis Chessmen, the astrolabe and the bust of Sophocles, that duplicate the sensory experience of touching the original objects in the exhibition, are available on a touch table.