Please do not touch: we’re used to seeing the signs in museums worldwide, but now Madrid’s Museo del Prado has done away with this rule in a special new exhibition, focussed specifically on visually impaired visitors.
Based on innovation and technology, the ‘Hoy toca el Prado’ (‘Touch the Prado’) project’s six works are copies of masterpieces that can already be found in museum collections. But there’s one major difference: these works can now be touched.
The copies are created using sophisticated 3D printing techniques. Visitors are then able to get a feel for the textural complexity of some of the treasures of the art world.
One man, who went along to test out the new ‘Touch the Prado’ exhibition, said:
“For us the sense of sight is the sense of touch. My view is to touch, and usually I can’t see the paintings others see in a museum – someone would have to explain them to me. But in this exhibit, I have the chance to see it with my hands.”
The project was developed in collaboration with professionals in the visual impairment sector. It allows for the reality of the painting to be perceived, in order to mentally recreate it as a whole.
Museo del Prado curator Fernando Pérez is pleased with the exhibition’s reception so far.
“These paintings are to be touched,” he said. “What interests us is whether they are truly accessible to the public. This first stage shows we are on the right track – that the public understands our paintings. And for that, we are satisfied.”
The display also includes didactic material, such as texts in braille, audioguides and opaque glasses aimed at facilitating the experience for fully-sighted visitors.
‘Hoy toca el Prado’ will run until June 28, 2015. Entry is free for the visually impaired and those helping them to visit the museum.