Understanding Accessible Interpretation through Touch Object Practices in Museums

Lauren Race, Saarah D’Souza, Rosanna Flouty, Tom Igoe, Amy Hurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Information in museums is predominantly presented visually, behind glass, or roped off, excluding visitors who are blind or low vision (BLV) and learn best through touch. Some museums create touch objects to interpret artifacts for tactile learners and they are critical to accessible interpretation. We interview fifteen museum access specialists from diverse institutions across the United States to understand their current practices and evaluate their responses with six BLV accessibility experts. We define a taxonomy that describes the range of touch objects currently offered by museums. We report that the majority of museums were producing low-fidelity touch objects and that all six BLV accessibility experts preferred high-fidelity touch objects. Based on our findings, we recommend designing high-fidelity touch objects, leveraging digital fabrication, and developing touch object design guidelines for future interpretations. These recommendations support accessible interpretation in museums and can be adopted in other learning environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-98
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of the Inclusive Museum
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Accessibility
  • Blind
  • Disability
  • Low Vision
  • Museums
  • Touch Objects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Museology


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