Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vatican Museums: Tours for the Deaf and Blind

Another example of why it's a good idea, in my opinion, to read past the headlines and lead paragraph in the news:
"Vatican museums develop first-ever tours for deaf and blind"
Alan Holdren, CNA (Catholic News Agency) (March 3, 2011)

"Specially-trained guides are now available to offer one-of-a-kind tours of the Vatican Museums to the deaf and blind.

"The museums' staff announced the new service at a March 1 press conference. Initially, they will be offered for Italian speakers and signers.

"In the tour for the blind and visually impaired, visitors are able to touch copies of two of 'the 30 most important works' in the Pinacoteca – the Vatican museum that houses an extensive collection of paintings.

"They are guided in groups of eight to examine a replica of Caravaggio's 'Deposition from the Cross.' The work depicts Christ being taken down from the cross to be laid in the tomb...."
My reaction to the article, up to the third paragraph, was pretty much 'you have got to be kidding.'

I think the idea behind this service - making information available to folks who can't perceive it the way most can - is more than just charitable. It's common sense. In my opinion, we all benefit, at least indirectly, by letting as many folks as possible share information. And that's another topic.

My reactions to the article went something like this:
  • Tours for blind folks: at an art museum?!
    • Maybe detailed descriptions of the colors and shapes??
  • TOUCH irreplaceable paintings?
    • Oh, touch copies of the paintings
      • That makes more sense
At least one of the copies is fairly sophisticated:
"...The experience of discovering the painting's content and texture through the hands-on examination of a special three-dimensional bas relief replica is accompanied by Scripture and poetry readings that explain the moment, as well as sacred music inspired by the depicted event.

"Tourists are also guided through second work in fresco from an artist named Melozzo da Forlì. It depicts an angel playing a stringed instrument. Both this piece and the copy of the 'Deposition,' created in the same way as the original, are available to be touched.

"The raised design works of art are also available to the visitor in a pamphlet that is available in both Braille and dark print...."
I agree with my wife, about this tour: 'that's sweet.' Also, in my opinion, a very good idea.

Vaguely-related posts:


Brigid said...

That's kinda cool. Also, I followed much the same line of thought when I heard about it.

Brian Gill said...


Great minds think alike - ours, too, apparently.


Odyssey said...

What a lovely post on Rome ! You make my heart to go back to Italy ! You have a stunning blog ! I have always dreamed of visiting Italy!
I would love to enjoy Vatican tours, Vatican Museum tours!! Thanx for sharing excellent informations.

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Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.