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Members of the Kent Association for the Blind’s (KAB) Medway Art Group will experience the Guildhall Museum’s Prehistoric Medway exhibition

By Clare Freeman

Historic items normally only available to look at are being unlocked to allow people with sight loss to explore a museum’s treasures.

Members of the Kent Association for the Blind’s (KAB) Medway Art Group will be able to experience the Guildhall Museum’s Prehistoric Medway exhibition by touching the collection.

The group, who all either have full or partial sight loss, will then make artwork in response to what they have felt and experienced through the sessions.

Julia Olszewska, aged 10, with artist Wendy Daws
Julia Olszewska, aged 10, with artist Wendy Daws

The art project, The Value of Touch, is being run by local artist Wendy Daws and the Guildhall’s collections officer, Steve Nye.

Ms Daws set up the group voluntarily and it has now been running for nearly 10 years.

Barbara Brigden, one of the longest-serving members, said: “We are looking forward to exploring the museum and to being part of this project.

“It’s so great to meet with like-minds and share experiences with others in similar circumstances to yourself.

“This gives us an opportunity to learn – and we’re never too old to learn. I’m 93 years young this year, and I’m not even the oldest student in our group!”

The group will then take up a two-month residency at Sun Pier House in Chatham where they will create their works of art.

Twins, Marlowe and Huxley Hill, aged, five, get creative at a cave chic arts and crafts workshop at the Guildhall Museum
Twins, Marlowe and Huxley Hill, aged, five, get creative at a cave chic arts and crafts workshop at the Guildhall Museum

These will then go on display at the Guildhall in November 2016.

Katherine Barr, from KAB, said: “As well as bringing great enjoyment and new opportunities to the sight-impaired members of the art group, the project will raise awareness of sight loss and the achievements of visually impaired people.

“It is also a great opportunity to highlight how art can be made accessible for people with disabilities.”

The sessions are funded by Arts Council England, KAB, North Kent Local Authority Arts Partnership (NKLAAP) and Medway Council.

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