Museum in Holon Enables Visitors to Learn to

Navigate the World as if They Were Blind

By Norman Sarkin – La Jolla, CA

 


HOLON, Israel—We visited the museum  “Dialogue in the Dark” in this Tel Aviv, Israel suburb.

 

It was a most remarkable experience of “seeing” the world through Blind eyes. This museum is one in about 17 countries that experiences the “world of the blind”.

 

It teaches us to use all our senses. In particular, touch, smell and hearing come into play all the time. Our guide, who has been blind from birth, gave us canes and with his help and guidance, we experienced over the next hour a virtual world without pictures. 

 

In a room so dark we didn’t need blindfolds to feel sightless, we walked through a virtual city where sounds were helpful at the traffic lights (beep, beep,). We used canes to warn where the sidewalk ended. Cars honked, dogs barked and we stumbled on. We visited a market where we had to feel the fruit to distinguish between potatoes, tomatoes, & oranges.

 

“Mind Your Step” – and carefully we stepped into a small boat. We felt the rocking – the engine noise, the wind and the spray. We stepped out into a park and heard birds and the rustle of the wind in the trees, smelled the flowers. Ben “hopped” on to a bicycle that was parked there – rang the bell and we all could feel the frame and wheels, etc.

 

Being blind means the exclusion from many everyday things, the seeing world, take for granted. The lack of vision is compensated by another kind of “seeing” whereby everyday life assumes a different quality, that of a non-visual nature.

 

We were asked to learn to see by not seeing – by touch, feel, smell, and so forth.

“Dialogue in the Dark” is, an exhibition that takes as a starting point the non-visual perceptions of blind people, in order to discover the unseen.

 

Reserve a time with an English-speaking guide. The phone # in Tel Aviv is 650-3010.