Doors. Please Touch
In October 2022, Red Oak launched the second phase of "DOORS. PLEASE TOUCH" (Prière de toucher) in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, the Italian Cultural Institute, the National Museum of Beirut, the Omero Tactile Museum of Italy and MACAM (Modern and Contemporary Art Museum).
This project aims to make art and culture in Lebanon accessible to the blind and visually impaired, and the deaf and hard of hearing, through a tactile guidance system, trainings on accessibility, and educational inclusive tactile art activities.
The project’s objective is to promote the social and educational value of cultural heritage through an innovative approach to the heritage itself, based on multi-sensory experiences and in particular on touch, and focused primarily on the cultural and social inclusion of people with visual disabilities, in addition to multi-sensory museum paths usable by blind people. It is also an opportunity for Lebanon to be innovative at the level of art and become one of the few countries in the world to allow the experience of the tactile vision of art to everyone.
Inauguration of “Doors. Please Touch” in 2018
"DOORS. PLEASE TOUCH" (Prière de toucher) was inaugurated at the National Museum of Beirut on 29 October 2018 in the presence of the Minister of Culture Dr. Ghattas Khoury, the Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Massimo Marotti, the President of the Omero Museum Aldo Grassini, and the Director of the National Museum Anne-Marie Afeiche. The opening was launched with the choir of the Lebanese School for the Blind and Deaf (LSBD). Starting January 2019, the National Museum of Beirut and MACAM opened their doors for the first time for the blind & visually impaired. Since then, Red Oak has been organizing tactile guided tours for persons with disabilities with the collaboration of the Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA).
The project has been implemented through different phases:
- Development of tools and new technologies to facilitate accessibility in the museums;
- Selection of more than 40 archeological objects, sculptures, and mosaics to be accessible by touch
- Informative material in Braille next to the selected art objects;
- Training on accessibility to 40 museum operators at the Sursock Museum, to the educational team of special schools and public schools, and to archeology students at the Lebanese University;
- Tactile guided visits to the blind and visually-impaired, and deaf and hard-hearing persons at the National Museum of Beirut and MACAM;
- Implementation of educational inclusive tactile art activities at museums, schools, and at Red Oak centers such;
- Launching of the Tactile book project and cultural exchange between Lebanese students and students in Italy from the Liceo Artistico “E. Mannucci”.