Passions & Places

Omero National Tactile Museum

Paradise Possible


Omero National Tactile Museum
Il Museo Tattile Statale Omero

City of Ancona

Le Marche

Art must be for everyone. Rather: either it is for everyone or it is not at all.

This is the message that has inspired the creation of the Omero National Tactile Museum in Ancona, one of the few tactile museums in the world and progenitor of museums without sensory barriers in which the relationship with art becomes one of physical contact and new awareness.

“Touching art: an unthinkable goal not so long ago. A way of perceiving that is excluded from almost every museum, an approach to the aesthetic still largely unexplored by the visually impaired, despite its epistemological importance. Touch faces, bodies, gestures and expressions; discover volume and perspective with your own hands. The Omero Museum was created with aim of filling a gap on the map of cultural services for the visually impaired, but also to offer an innovative space where artistic perception passes through multisensory, extravisual stimuli.”

This is the objective declared by the museum, established in 1993 by the Municipality of Ancona with the donation from Regione Marche and inspired by the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted. It contains sections on archaeology; architecture; and ancient, modern and contemporary sculpture, with works by artists ranging from Canova, Donatello, Bernini, Michelangelo and Vanvitelli to Annigoni, F. T. Marinetti and, naturally, Felice Tagliaferri.

The space, distributed over 750 squared metres, houses a rich collection of around 200 works to discover with your own hands, through contact with the smooth, polished surfaces of the statues, the curvy outlines or the architectural details of the full-scale models. The only one of its kind in Italy and constantly enriched with new acquisitions, the collection organically documents plastic and sculptural art from all the periods: from the copies and models of famous sculptures (Nike by Samotracia, Pieta by Michangelo in St. Peter’s Basilica, Venere italica by Canova) to the precious archaeological finds coming from the Marche’s National Archaeological Museum ranging from prehistory to the Late Classical period, from miniature models of famous architecture (Pantheon, Mole Vanvitelliana) to original works of art by contemporary artists.

The museum is also engaged in a number of educational activities for schools and children, and it has become the international benchmark in aesthetic education for the visually impaired and partially sighted. It organises training and refresher courses, sensory workshops in the dark and many others, setting itself up as a large, cultural receptacle, an innovative and enjoyable space to learn about art.

A place, in a word, that is more unique than rare, where the ban on touching does not exist but quite the opposite; touching allows the visually impaired to enjoy works of art by great artists, something even the artists themselves are generally excluded from.

Ancona’s Omero Tactile Museum is an initiative of reciprocal inclusion and, if on the one hand it allows visually impaired people to appreciate art through their own hands, on the other it allows also fully-sighted people to rediscover the sense of touch, too often relegated to sight’s subsidiary role, whilst perceiving through the hands opens up new possibilities for learning.

Special Thanks to:

Municipality of Ancona

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