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Van Gogh Museum introduces touchable scale model of building

The Van Gogh Museum introduces a touchable scale model of its building for blind and partially-sighted visitors.

van gogh museum scale model

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has introduced a touchable scale model of the building that includes all floors and walking routes, located at the museum’s entrance.

The 3D-printed model, made by Local Makers, is designed to make a visit to the museum easier for everyone, especially for blind and partially-sighted guests.

Guests can feel their way around the museum’s building simply by touching the scale model, getting a feel for the layout and what each floor has to offer.

“Thanks to the support and expertise of the Bartiméus Fonds and Stichting Accessibility, we have made another step in improving accessibility to the Van Gogh Museum,” said Emilie Gordenker, director of the Van Gogh Museum.

“We hope to make further improvements in the years ahead, in order to offer all of our visitors an unforgettable museum experience.”

Accessibility at the Van Gogh Museum

van gogh museum scale model

The Van Gogh Museum is the first institution in the Netherlands to introduce a detailed, touchable scale model of the building’s interior and exterior.

The scale model features a miniature version of the exterior of the Van Gogh Museum complex, as well as an open model of all of the museum’s floors. This reveals where the lifts and other facilities are located.

The Van Gogh Museum, alongside the Bartiméus Fonds and Stichting Accessibility, collaborated with blind and partially-sighted visitors to create the touchable scale model.

“The touchable scale model is specifically designed for visitors with various visual impairments, but will also assist many of our other visitors during their visit,” said Mirjam Eikelenboom, educator at the Van Gogh Museum.

“It is vital that blind and partially-sighted visitors also feel welcome at our museum. Experiencing art is about more than simply seeing it.”

3D-printed model in the Netherlands

van gogh museum scale model

The Van Gogh Museum will continue to invest in accessibility. Touchable floor plans that will be installed next to the lift entrances on each floor of the permanent collection are being developed.

These will offer detailed information about the walking routes and what is on display on each floor. Touchable floor plans will also be created for temporary exhibitions.

“Wayfinding can often be difficult at museums, and can be a hindrance to blind and partially-sighted visitors,” said Séverine Kas, consultant at Stichting Accessibility.

“The new touchable scale models allow visitors to use both hands to gain an overview and understand the buildings, while allowing sighted visitors to see how the museum is laid out at a glance.”

The Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands has opened a multi-sensory exhibition featuring 120 artworks that can be seen, touched, heard and smelled.

Images: The Van Gogh Museum

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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