Vatican Museums' accessibility practices for blind and partially sighted (BPS) visitors

A case study




The Vatican Museums (also referred to as “VM”) are the repositories of one of the world’s most remarkable and varied art collections. The relative responsibilities and challenges are plenty: the many visitors pose a significant threat to the conservation of artworks, but communicating and safeguarding the works of art is even more challenging when opening the museum collections to a Blind and Partially Sighted (referred in the article as BPS) audience. The Vatican Museums’ accessibility practices, some of which aimed at providing support to the experience of visually impaired visitors, have been developed via foresight, international vision, strong partnerships, and efficient resource allocation. The present article describes the strategies adopted by the Vatican Museums involving accessibility for BPS audiences. It examines the extent of existing measures and how they align with the "best practices" necessary to grant access to facilities and valuable information. The analysis has been carried out through first-hand observations performed during the internship period the author spent at the Vatican Museums. Finally, the article examines the educational techniques involving some of the items included in the haptic itinerary offered by the Vatican Museum, with references to applied neuroscientific research in relation to tactile perception and Museum Sciences.


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How to Cite

Trotta, R. (2023). Vatican Museums’ accessibility practices for blind and partially sighted (BPS) visitors: A case study. Journal of Accessibility and Design for All, 13(2), 113–139.