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Penn Museum’s ‘touch tours’ offer blind visitors grasp of ancient history

Theresa Joniec, a docent in the Egyptian gallery at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, shows a group of visually impaired visitors a large carved stela — a kind of tombstone made of black basalt commemorating the ancient Pharaoh Qa-a. “DO NOT TOUCH” signs are posted on the walls.

"Go ahead, touch it," said Joniec. "I’m going to touch it, because I don’t get this privilege. This is 5,000 years old."

The Penn Museum allows patrons to handle artifacts as part of their new “touch tours” for the blind and visually impaired. After thoroughly washing with sanitizing wipes, several sets of hands roamed over the curve of stone, and poked fingers into carved hieroglyphs.

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    Well…I am a blind Pagan, so I guess I know myself? :P I’m also quite sighted for a blind person. I can’t say I...
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