History through touch - a unique exhibition opened in Moscow

History through touch - a unique exhibition opened in Moscow



Image: State Historical Museum in Moscow, the main entrance


“It is allowed to touch the exhibits” - on October 2, the State Historical Museum in Moscow - the largest national museum of Russia, for the first time presented the public tactile models of the masterpieces of its collection.

Visitors to museums and galleries have already come to terms with the fact that the exhibits - all these beautiful paintings, ancient coins, books, samples of ancient minerals that create the image of the past in our imagination, are hidden under glass, are displayed in a window or placed high on the wall. Which, in general, is understandable - how else to save a precious legacy from the influence of time?

But in October, in the State Historical Museum, the main rule of the museum saying “It is forbidden to touch the exhibits” was violated - a tactile exhibition was opened here, the showpieces of which can and should be studied and touched. However, the “Touching History in the Historical Museum” was created not to satisfy the thirst for curiosity, but to introduce the blind and visually impaired people to the best objects from the museum’s collection, and to allow them to tell their story through touch.


Image: the official poster of the exibition
The project is implemented by the State Historical Museum in conjunction with The Deaf-Blind Support Foundation «Con-nection» (Source)

The exhibition presents replicas of unique archaeological finds, iconic monuments of the era of Ancient Russia and the Moscow kingdom. For example, the tactile model of rhytons (drinking vessels made of clay, metal or horn), dated to the second half of the 10th century and of particular importance for the collection of the Historical Museum, is the result of scientific reconstruction, thanks to which it was possible to recreate their original form.

Tactile models are placed on special racks, made in accordance with modern technological capabilities - built-in guide for blind and visually impaired visitors and a video guide for deaf and hard of hearing, racks are also accessible to visitors in wheelchairs. Thanks to modern equipment, the exhibition is also accessible for people with simultaneous hearing and visual impairment.


Image: a tactile model of the sculpture of the ancient warrior and a horse
Tactile models allow people with visual and hearing impairments to get acquainted
with the exhibits of the museum (Source)

The exhibition also presents the project "History Showcase", which includes exhibits from the collection of Ivan Biryukov, in which visitors can see the means of rehabilitation of people with disabilities from the Renaissance to the 20th century (hearing aids and horns, objects of everyday life and work of blind people, prints, books, and documents). This section of the exhibition will demonstrate that the rehabilitation of people with disabilities has been and remains an integral part of society.

The second section of the exhibition is designed to show the latest developments and approaches aimed at increasing the museum's accessibility for people with disabilities and the transition from a medical approach to a disability to a social one.


The program of events at the exhibition is published on the museum website.
The exhibition works until November 4, 2019. Entrance to the exhibition is free for disabled visitors, upon presentation of a supporting document on disability. Address: State Historical Museum, Moscow, Red Square, 1, Entrance No. 3 (behind the monument to Zhukov).