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India's rich past comes alive in sensory ways at this accessible exhibition in Delhi

Access to culture in accessible formats is an important right guaranteed to people with disabilities by the United Nations. As part of our coverage in the run up to Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we look at the accessibility initiatives undertaken at the ongoing exhibition, India and the World: A History in Nine Stories, currently on at the National Museum in New Delhi.

A tablet in cuneiform script, one of the earliest systems of writing dating back to the 31st century BC. Or a picture of the Mughal emperor Jahangir holding a portrait of the Virgin Mary.

These are just some of the artefacts that are on display in accessible formats at India and the World: A History in Nine Stories, an exhibition at the National Museum in New Delhi.

The exhibition is part of a landmark collaboration between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) Mumbai, the British Museum in London, and the National Museum, New Delhi, with the support of the Ministry of Culture. On display are about 200 objects from collections from over 20 museums and private collections across India.

First in every way

From blindfold tactile art sessions to inclusive workshops, there is plenty here to make the exhibition accessible to people with special needs, says heritage architect and accessibility consultant, Siddhant Shah, who's organization Access for ALL has worked closely with the National Museum's education department to put the workshops together.

The key aspect is that Access for ALL is supported by Radio Mirchi and the DAG Modern. It is significant that so many synergies have come together to support one cause. Radio Mirchi is supporting the audio guides which are specially designed for visually impaired audiences. The DAG is taking care of all the expenses of the tactile reproductions and is supporting the workshops - Siddhant Shah, Founder, Access For ALL

Setting benchmarks

From pathways to artworks that are tactile, to 3-D paintings that show the process of axe development. the exhibition aims to also push the bar and create a case study for other exhibitions in India in terms of accessibility standards they can draw inspiration from. In terms of tactile artworks.

Even the temporary exhibits coming in have been made accessible to a wider audience. There are at least 18 tactile works on display. There is also a Braille book and Braille captions and four special workshops for people with special needs - Siddhant Shah, Founder, Access For ALL

The exhibition will be in for three months. There are eight walks in all, four each in the months of May and June to reach out to kids who are in the midst of school holidays.

All the walks are inclusive and open to everyone, which is also a first. These are free of cost and open to people of all age groups.

Read the other stories around the theme of accessibility for Global Accessibility Awareness Week

Breaking notions about travel & disability with accessible travel experiences for visually impaired people

How Arun overcame his disability to help other people with disabilities

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