You know what Marcel Proust used to say ” The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
What if the real voyage of discovery is NOT using your eyes? There is a perfect museum Ancona that lets you travel the whole world and discover many work of art without even using your sight. I am talking about the Omero Museum situated inside the Mole Vanvitelliana, a pentagonal 18th century building right on the edge of the port of Ancona.
This Mole or lazzaretto originally served as a quarantine building for the sick sailors. The architect was the famous Vanvitelli, son of a Dutch painter who adapted his name Van Wittel. He also designed the famous Caserta palace near Naples.
In recent years, the Mole has been thoroughly restored, and the final part is now underway. It now serves as a cultural centre and houses the Omero museum.
At the entrance of the museum you will get a blindfold to experience the museum as a blind. Before entering the room, the person is wearing the blindfold and the partner can lead him/her to experience every work of art.
I have never experienced a museum as a blind, but I joined some dinners in the dark. It was not as easy as it may seem because, if you are not used to it, you cannot find any point of reference.
The Museum is not only a voyage through art, but also through history, starting with the famous Greek and Roman statues such as the Venus de Milo…
..through the Romanesque and Gothic era with the cathedral of Chartres to end up in the Renaissance.
Of this period there were mainly models of famous buildings, such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the tower of Pisa.
I think that the idea of letting blind people perceive the shape of very famous buildings worldwide is just beautiful! Some of the works of art are even so high that you have to use a ladder to touch it. An explanation is provided for each piece of art, of course also in Braille.
There is explanation everywhere, of course also in Braille.
Isabelle and her husband Erik went for a visit, and found the well-known Picasso painting “Guernica” the most remarkable piece of the whole collection.
On the top floor modern art orginal works are displayed: everything can be touched!
Behind this ambiguos project there is the blind couple formed by Aldo Grassini and Daniela Bottegon. The couple enjoyed travelling, but had been annoyed for a long time about the fact that they were never allowed to touch anything in museums. Just as if you were to tell sighted people not to look. They therefore thought that such a tactile museum would be very useful. The Homer Museum was founded on May 29, 1993 by the municipality of Ancona with the contribution of the Marche region and inspired by the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired. On November 25, 1999, it was unanimously recognized as a state museum by the Italian Parliament, confirming its unique international value.
In the summer of 2012, the museum moved from the head office on Via Tiziano 50 to the spaces of the Mole Vanvitelliana and is free to visit.
This museum is really worth a visit, not only by blind visit but also to those families with very impatient children who, at least for once, are free to touch whatever they want in museums!