The Indian state of Rajasthan is known for its rulers, glorious past and the number of historical monuments that feature stunning architecture. But the ones who are visually impaired cannot see and experience the monuments’ beautiful architecture or the artifacts that have been kept in museums here. They aren’t even allowed to touch and feel the carvings.
Mumbai’s Heritage Architecture and Access Consultant, Siddhant Shah is currently working on creating a ‘tactile experience’ for visually disabled people. He is creating tactile reproductions of the artifacts displayed in the City Palace Museum. Visually disabled people will be able to touch and feel these tactile reproductions. They can then understand the art in their own special ways.
The museum will also have guide books written in Braille script at all gallery counters so as to guide the disabled. This facility would be available from July in City Palace’s Textile Gallery as well as in its Painting and Photography Gallery.
It was in Greece that Siddhant Shah first encountered disabled-friendly museums, a few years back. He was studying heritage management there. In Greece, all artworks and monuments are accessible to the visually impaired. But here in India, we don’t have such facilities yet, even after having so many historic locations. Siddhant’s mother also has partial vision impairment. This fact inspired Shah to provide the visually impaired an access to the art and architecture of India.
He has already started creating tactile reproductions of some special artifacts of the Textile gallery and the Painting and Photography gallery of City Palace Museum. Some of the artifacts that have already been reproduced for providing tactile experience include a map of old city Jaipur, Raja Ram Singh’s photograph and photographs clicked by him, Hawa Mahal’s ancient picture, etc.
This is going to be the first ever tactile museum in Jaipur. Delhi’s National Museum already provides tactile experience to its visually impaired tourists.