Accessible Galleries: The Discovery Room/Gallery

1970s

Accessible Galleries: The Discovery Room/Gallery

Era: 

  • 1968 - 1982

In July 1977, the ROM’s Discovery Room opened and was billed as a “mini-museum for the blind.” It was called the first gallery of its kind in Canada, a learning environment that emphasized hands-on engagement with original objects and specimens. Visitors crossing the threshold of the gallery would have encountered a long “touch wall”, 28 squares of tactile material, ranging from fur, dinosaur skin casts and finely wrought Persian mail. The gallery was not intended solely for children: it was a space that offered a learner-centered, multisensory way of engaging with objects and specimens. Strides were also made to make the gallery as multilingual as possible and object information was translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Chinese (dialect not known), as well as French and English Braille.

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