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N.C. Museum of Art Offers New Ways To Appreciate Art

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RALEIGH — People who have never been able to visit an art museum before now have a reason to go.The North Carolina Museum of Artis helping hearing and visually impaired people appreciate art like never before.

"I think that the whole area of trying to accommodate people with special needs is something that museums have always been in the forefront in trying to let those people participate," says Joseph Covington, the museum's director of education.

In an auditorium, learning about art comes through hearing. For the hearing-impaired, even in a room with amplified sound, a receiver and headphones can mean the difference between indecipherable noise and understandable speech.

Docents can now wear microphones hooked to a transmitter and linked to special receivers. Noise and distraction are gone. Now, the museum is working to help the visually impaired.

"When you think about it, art is a strictly visual medium for the most part, so it's always been a great challenge and something of a barrier for people who can't see," he says.

Workshops for the visually impaired include special pieces. Those pieces can be touched if the person is wearing gloves. The new equipment for the hearing impaired is available upon request at the museum.


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