Raising awareness about living with vision loss happens here on Adventures in Low Vision. I learn skills and alternative ways of doing things to live well and share my experiences. Along this journey I meet people adapting behaviors and attitudes to thrive with a disability. As more people talk in public about living with blindness, living with any disability, my friend Joy from Double Vision says, “we’re part of a growing movement!” I agree. We abandon shame and embrace our disabilities, seeking fulfillment over approval.
Educating others by yourself is rewarding. As a group, it’s dynamic. This summer, Stephanae from Bold Blind Beauty launched a campaign to break barriers and dispel misconceptions of blindness. It’s called #AbbyOnTheMove. Across social media platforms, people are using the #AbbyOnTheMove tag to share their experiences. Check it out.
Recently I added my voice to the mix when I visited the Baltimore Museum of Art. Low vision doesn’t stop me from enjoying paintings and sculptures.
It was a steamy day, temperatures reached well into the 90s. With relief, Stockton and I entered the air-conditioned space. Another treat: the museum is free to the public. Stockton grabbed a map at the reception area, but I had already looked online, zooming in as needed. I wanted to explore the Cone Collection of Modern Art on Level Two. What can I say, I’m a sucker for Impressionism. After a quick disagreement on whether we were already on Level Two, we took off. With my white cane leading me, we found the correct location. I walked from painting to painting making sure I wasn’t leaning in too far and threatening any of the artwork. For details like small figures or noting layers of paint, I use my monocular to study pieces. I love the hush of a gallery.
After the collection inside, onto the sculpture garden outside. We braved the heat and walked over to the enclosed area next to the museum. As we neared a set of iron gates, Stockton said, “Uh, oh, these are padlocked.”
We walked around to another entrance, locked as well. I stared forlornly through the bars, seeing twisted metal shapes ahead. The lush landscaping looked so inviting. A respite from the busy overheated city, it was not to be.
This is the part where I could let disappointment and anger ruin my day and I could rant here. I chose not to. Stockton queued up the museums info desk. I cradled the phone and listened when a nice and professional employee greeted me. I asked him if the sculpture garden was closed. He responded, with less spirit, indeed it was closed today, “due to the excessive heat.” I thanked him and disconnected with a shrug.
I wanted to visit the sculpture garden for its beauty and to learn. Researching pre-trip on the museum’s website, I discovered the BMA produced an audio tour discussing each sculpture as well as the design and care of the gardens. It’s available here on iTunes U.
I downloaded it, ready to listen until I was kept out by the iron gates. Or was I out of luck? I could still listen to the audio tour anywhere, anytime. Once home, I listened to the tour from the comfort of my porch swing using my imagination. Sometimes you can’t break down every barrier when you face real locked doors, but you can still find a way to enjoy things.
Have you visited the Baltimore Museum of Art? Is your local museum accessible? Do you explore sculpture gardens? What is your favorite artwork? Tell me about it.