Varese Tactile Museum
Inaugurated in April 2011, the Varese Tactile Museum today represents a substantially unique example in Europe, because it is exclusively dedicated to the display of tactile wooden models, therefore usable by both the sighted and the blind. Our museum currently houses about sixty models (divided between architecture, monuments, landscape, archaeological sites, tactile maps, etc.) and is a sort of three-dimensional encyclopedia to be browsed with your fingers, capable of stimulating not only the interest in tactile knowledge, but also and above all that for the artistic 'world'. In our museum, sighted visitors (representing over 98% of users) visit blindfolded, thus experiencing tactile knowledge in its most essential form and above all experiencing how tactile knowledge can be an added value and an emotion. "for everyone".
The function of the tactile models of the archaeological, artistic and architectural brand is twofold, as they are artifacts that if on the one hand are the only tool capable of allowing the use and knowledge of monuments and / or archaeological sites to people without of sight, on the other hand they have a much wider value as they produce in sighted visitors an extraordinary emotional and cognitive involvement, collaborating to increase interest in cultural heritage and works of art. This mechanism develops through a simplification of the knowledge of the nature of monuments and sites, added to an emotional component, which stimulates interest in the subject and facilitates its deepening. Finally, the function of tactile models is also to be extended to their nature and didactic value, because the provision of the opportunity to schools to show students a series of cultural assets in a more 'understandable' and 'light' form than the traditional book of text, allows to achieve absolutely extraordinary educational results and involvement of young people.