Tucked into Southern Methodist University just north of downtown Dallas is the small, yet commanding, Meadows Museum. As you walk by the 90-foot-long, always moving Wave sculpture and the white-painted, stainless steel mesh head, Sho, you get a glimpse into how much this museum has to offer. Starting this fall, they’re adding more—specifically with the kids in mind.
Along with the upcoming fall activities, Meadows will offer new activity bags—cute, red canvas bags that include activities and prompts—so kids can interact with their parents while experiencing art. Each bag includes three sets of prompt cards: Talk, Make, and Write. But what makes this activity bag truly remarkable is that it’s not only available in English and Spanish but also braille.
But at a visual arts museum, how can braille be beneficial? Apparently, in recent years, the Meadows Museum has been making efforts to make art more accessible to its visitors with disabilities, including visual impairments. “We decided to include braille in the activity bags not only to serve our visitors who are braille readers or learners but to also raise awareness among our non-braille readers that people with vision loss—and other disabilities—enjoy museums too,” says Kayle Patton, the Meadows Museum Education and Accessibility Coordinator. With the introduction of braille into these activity bags, families can have new ways of experiencing art together, which is super exciting.
Since the bags are available in English, Spanish and braille, you’d assume there would be significant differences between the three versions. Not the case. Meadows made the bags to be exactly the same. Kids tend to feel out of place when they have to do something differently than their peers, so this aspect is completely brilliant.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the kiddo’s approach will be the same as others though. “While not every prompt is as easily approached with vision loss, we sincerely hope…groups [will be] creative with how they approach each activity,” Patton says. Whether that’s interpreting a painting into a poem or a sculpture into a sound, visually impaired kids will be able to have fun with art.
Meadows Museum // 5900 Bishop Road, Dallas; 214/768-2516
Image courtesy of the Meadows Museum.