Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A Touchy Feely Monday Afternoon

I visited the ladies of the Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB) at King's Lynn on Monday, and gave them a 'Touch Tour' of my Queenie dress as part of their reminiscence therapy sessions.

Leading touch tours was a skill I learned whilst working at Norwich Castle Museum a few years ago, and it combines painting a lavish picture with words, using detailed description of size, colour, manufacturing techniques and so on, plus a chance to feel the clothes or objects themselves.

I was pleased at how well it went. It's tricky to describe the look and the feel of what I'm wearing and so on, and still remember the historical context and all the anecdotal touches and appropriate humour, whilst simultaneously adjusting vocabulary for the very variable ability and comprehension levels amongst the audience. Get it right, and everyone enjoys the session and learns something without either feeling 'talked down to' or feeling that it was 'way above their head'. This skill is often overlooked- perhaps that's why Live Interpreters like myself are so poorly paid by museums and county councils. But these skills are the things which make all the difference in my line of work.

The ladies invited me to join in with their tea and cake afterwards- delicious!

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