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Making Art Accessible to Everyone

by Shannon Karol


learning & interpretation , education , accessibility , events & programs , tours , Touch Tours , ASL Tours , Connect , Memories in the Museum

guest shows off artwork

We truly believe that the Cincinnati Art Museum should be accessible to everyone, which is why we offer a full slate of Accessibility Programs each month.  These programs are specially designed to provide an inclusive environment in which visitors with special needs can explore the Art Museum’s collection and special exhibitions in ways that best fit their particular learning needs.  We strive to create a safe and comfortable space where visitors with special needs can feel comfortable expressing themselves and their opinions about art.

 All of our Accessibility Programs are FREE of charge, and reservations are recommended.  Reservations can be made online or by calling (513) 721.ARTS.  But first, read on to learn more about each of our four accessibility programs, including information on when they occur, upcoming themes, and more!

Touch Tours for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Offered on the second Saturday of each month at 11:00 a.m., Touch Tours allow visitors with vision impairment and their families to experience the Art Museum’s collection through touch.  These tours are led by specially trained docents, who provide detailed verbal descriptions before allowing those with vision impairment to explore each artwork with their fingertips.  Each month features a different theme and focuses on approximately five artworks from our permanent collection.  The next Touch Tour will be offered on Saturday, February 14th. Our theme is “Overcoming Adversity” and we will discuss artists and historical figures that have overcome adversity in their lifetime.

ASL Tours for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired
We offer American Sign Language tours on the third Saturday of each month at 11:00 a.m.  Led by docents accompanied by a certified ASL interpreter, these tours typically focus on the Art Museum’s special exhibitions.  Join us on February 21st for a look at Modern Voices in Japanese Ceramics and Prints an exhibition that shines a spotlight on works created in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Connect for Adults with developmental disabilities






Connect is specifically designed for adults with developmental disabilities and their caregivers.  Offered on the fourth Saturday of each month at 11:00 a.m., Connect provides a multisensory journey through the Art Museum’s collection and special exhibitions.  For example, our January program featured a tour that looked at works of art that related to our theme of “Gestures and Emotions.”



visitors work on paintings during Connect



While looking at Franz Kline’s Horizontal Rust (shown to the left) we pretended that we were holding paintbrushes and used them to explore how broad his brushstrokes were.  After our tour, we made paintings of our own that used different brushstrokes to convey how our day at the Art Museum made us feel.   Join us on February 28th, when our theme will be “Home Sweet Home.”  We’ll take a look at the decorative arts in our collection before creating a collage of our ideal living space.

Memories in the Museum:
Memories in the Museum is our program for visitors with memory loss and their guests.  This program was created in collaboration with the Taft Museum of Art, the Contemporary Arts Center, and the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati, and is our newest offering.  Held on the first Wednesday of each month, Memories in the Museum lasts from 10:00-11:30 a.m. and we meet at a different art institution each month.  Each program begins with light refreshments, followed by a tour and an opportunity for art making.  Our next Memories in the Museum program is scheduled for February 4th, and our theme is “Ancient Inspiration.”  We’ll begin by looking at Classical artworks from Greece, Rome, and India, discussing how these artists portray the human body.  We’ll then move upstairs to our contemporary galleries, where we’ll explore the similarities and differences in the way that artists in the 20th and 21st centuries portray the figure.  Memories in the Museum is a free program, but reservations are required.  For reservations, please contact the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati at (800) 272.3900.

visitors sketching a statue in a gallery

If you have any other questions about our accessibility programs please contact Shannon at [email protected]

Image Credit: Franz Kline (American, b.1910, d.1962), Horizontal Rust, 1960; oil on canvas; The Edwin and Virginia Irwin Memorial, 1982.85