Athens’ ‘Tactual Museum’ allows blind people to ‘get in touch’ with Greek culture

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Located in Kallithea, the Tactual Museum of Athens is a museum for the visually impaired. It was founded in 1984 by the association Lighthouse for the Blind of Greece to allow visually impaired people to become familiarised with Greek cultural heritage.

The museum's exhibits include copies of original artefacts of the Mycenaean, Geometric, Archaic, Austere, classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods. There are also exhibits from the Byzantine era and works of art created by visually impaired artists.

The unique museum actively encourages visually impaired people to handle and feel the items on display, literally inviting them to get "in touch" with the best examples of Greek culture and civilisation through the ages.

The Tactual Museum of Athens is now one of five tactile museums in the world, allowing the blind to become acquainted with masterpieces such as the Venus of Milo, Praxiteles' Hermes, the Charioteer at Delphi and a model of the Athens Acropolis, among others.

For the sighted that visit the museum, it is an opportunity to discover how to develop their sense of touch and to enter the world of the visually impaired for a short while. They can learn about the museum's history and develop their understanding of what it means to live with a visual disability is. They can use a mask to cover their eyes and try to find their way around the museum with a white mobility cane and a companion, trying to understand the artworks through touch rather than sight.

The museum also has a Byzantine-era section and galleries designed to sensitise the public to the Olympic Games and the Paralympics, as well as a pottery and sculpture workshop for the sight-impaired.

The museum is open daily from 9am to 2pm and on weekends after making the necessary arrangements with the museums' management.

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