Multimodal Museum

Creating a multimodal museum experience means making a space completely inclusive for people with disabilities as well as without. These museum visits are meant to take the viewer on a sensory adventure, experiencing what the people, fabrics, food and smells were like for a given art piece in its original time and place.

The below slideshow is for the Insights and Outlooks program at the Meadows Museum. For this experience the painting chosen was the altarpiece from the Cathedral in Toledo, Spain painted by Juan de Borgoña in the 15th century. The workshop began with the guests listening to monastic chants which reverberated off the high walls of the museum giving the space the feel of what it would be like to walk into a large cathedral. Participants then discussed how the sounds made them feel and were invited to the front where they used their bodies to interpret it for any hearing impaired in the group. A docent had also created foil textures for guests to feel. These foil textures mimicked the popular practice of imbedded textures in altarpieces to better catch candlelight. Guests were then given blank foil paper to explore making their own textures. We also supplied an original 15th century pomander recipe including frankincense and myrrh to smell. The painting was also described for any visually impaired and guests were encouraged to comment on things they saw that we might have not mentioned.

The feedback on these museum experiences has been very positive from all participants, disabled or not. I would like to take it to the next level researching and implementing how technologies can be used to enhance it.