The Juan de Vargas Museum of Customs in La Paz put together a sensory tour so that people with visual disabilities can feel and feel some replicas of works and thus bring them closer to the history of Bolivia.
This initiative of the Mayor’s Office of La Paz grouped more than a dozen pieces between sculptures, vessels and paintings with relief in the museum’s courtyard along with an explanation in Braille.
The idea of carrying out this activity is to open the museums to all people and work more on inclusion so that they have the same opportunity to enjoy a space such as a museum, the head of the museum, Mónica Sejas, told Efe.
This sample compiled works from four museums in La Paz, ranging from baskets woven in palm leaf, pieces of pre-Columbian ceramics, a painting carved in wood with representative characters and animals from La Paz, an Ekeko, the god of abundance, an icon of the Alasita festival in Bolivia, among others.
The tour can also be visited by people who do not have any disability, but who want to wear black glasses and sharpen their senses.
The specialized guides were in charge of up to two people to take them through the tour and explain each piece, bring them closer to each work and also help them with the headphones to listen to the sounds that contextualized the experience.
“It is a great step that a new world opens up for them and also for us to make known the history, customs and everything that La Paz and Bolivia really is in this case,” guide Marisela Mercado told Efe.
The hands became the eyes of the visitors who, with the description of the guide and the palpation of the work, imagined the piece that they had in front of them.
Some at first approached with a little fear of causing the piece to fall, but as the tour progressed, visitors were encouraged to ask about the colors of the work as well as the material that was made, as well as some data historical.
This is the case of the Bolivian Alberto Plata who has been blind since birth and who with amazement and curiosity made the tour, felt each work, listened to the music and sounds as well as the explanation of the guide and asked to describe the place and the materials of the works.
Plata told Efe that this is his third tour in a museum and that each experience of this type brings him closer to imagining the history of the country as well as fills him with nostalgia when he remembers his years as a teacher.
“We are living as if we were seeing, I am blind from birth, but the fact that they tell me in detail the details of what they make me touch or make me feel seems to me that I was seeing everything they show me,” said Plata.
Each one lived the tour in their own way and with special interest according to their tastes, such as the Bolivian María del Carmen Vargas who showed greater interest in touching the paintings with La Paz characters and having them describe their colors.
“I am very happy and joyful, I thank you infinitely for this initiative,” Vargas commented to Efe.
At the end of the tour, the attendees talked among themselves about the works that they liked the most and the need for more of these activities to be carried out so that there is an approach to museums, a space where touching is usually prohibited and that are not suitable for the needs of people with disabilities.
“This is a great step for inclusion,” concluded Vargas.
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