I recently visited a new gallery at the British Museum, featuring The Rothschild Collection of Renaissance Artefacts and Art Objects. However, my heart sank when I got there and realised the gallery was dark with glass cases that were lit up.
I’m 64 and was registered blind at 26 due to optic atrophy, so it was very difficult to see anything in those conditions. I sat on a bench while my husband, Graham, described the chalices, bowls and beautiful objects and read the labels to me.
Then a voice behind us said, “It’s so wonderful to see someone reading my labels!” And, that person just happened to be the curator of the exhibition, Dora Thornton. When Dora spotted my white cane, she showed me a wonderful book with transcriptions and tactile images of some of the collection, produced by RNIB.
In one of them, I could actually feel a thorn from the crown of thorns that was in a reliquary. It was absolutely one of the most amazing experiences that I’ve had as a blind person.
Janet Bennett, Shrewsbury
Visit the British Museum
The British Museum commissions RNIB tactile/braille guides and large print catalogues for all special exhibitions and gallery refurbishments. It also has audio description and curator-led handling events for most exhibitions. Visit British Museum or call the Information Line on 020 7323 8850.