Dutch Museum Has Art Show for People with Vision Issues

    21 August 2021

    The Utrecht Central Museum in The Netherlands offered an unusual art exhibit this month. Called The Blind Spot, visitors could look at artworks as expected. But, they could also touch and smell them.

    The show was designed to provide a better experience for museumgoers with poor eyesight.

    The creators made copies of famous paintings and added representative elements that could be heard or smelled. Visitors could even get a "feel" for the art, which included touchable elements.

    Visitor Farid el Manssouri seemed to enjoy his experience. He smiled as he moved his hands over cheese, grapes and bread, part of the representation of a famous 1610 painting by Floris van Dyck.

    "The first thing that struck me was the smell," el Manssouri said.

    "I could really smell the cheese, and I touched it too."

    El Manssouri wondered how the food did not fall from its unbalanced position. "That was really surprising to feel ... I guess it was glued on pretty well," el Manssouri said.

    A visitor interacts as the Dutch museum opens a new exhibition
    A visitor interacts as the Dutch museum opens a new exhibition "The Blind Spot" by artist Jasper Udink ten Cate and experience designer Jeroen Prins, aimed for blind and visually impaired visitors.

    Artist Jasper Udink ten Cate and designer Jeroen Prins created The Blind Spot. They said they were inspired by an experience they shared with a blind visitor at a past art show. They had provided food to go along with an artwork at the show. The blind visitor was very moved by that, they said.

    "That moment was the starting point," ten Cate said.

    Steffie Maas is the museum's head of inclusivity. She said The Blind Spot was an experiment on the way to more such improvements.

    Visitor Bas Suurland also praised The Blind Spot, calling the experience "quite unique in the Netherlands."

    I'm John Russell.

    Eva Plevier reported on this story from Reuters. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


    Words in This Story

    glue – v. to make (something) stick to something else by using glue

    inspire – v. to make (someone) want to do something : to give (someone) an idea about what to do or create

    unique -- adj. very special or unusual