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National Gallery Holds Special Director' s Event for Those with Specific Access Needs
National Gallery Interior. © National Gallery, London.

LONDON.- Several of the National Gallery’s paintings will be temporarily lowered during a special event for those with specific access needs.

The celebrated and popular paintings to be hung lower on the Gallery’s walls for the event will be Van Gogh’s 'Sunflowers', Constable’s 'The Hay Wain' and Monet’s 'The Gare St-Lazare', enabling visitors in wheelchairs to examine the paintings at close distance. There will also be lip-speaking supported 10-minute talks and tours of the paintings throughout the evening.

The event takes place on 29 June from 6.30pm to 9pm at the National Gallery in conjunction with the charity Access to Art.

Aimed at older people including Deaf and hard of hearing visitors, blind and partially sighted visitors, visitors with a mobility impairment and those with memory loss, this unique experience will enable art lovers with specific access needs to experience the National Gallery Collection in a way that that suits them best. An audience of two hundred or more is expected on the night.

The National Gallery will also launch its newest resource that evening: a special booklet for blind and partially sighted visitors featuring tactile images, painting descriptions in large print and Braille interpretation.

Other events planned during the evening include lip-speaking interpreted talks for hard of hearing visitors, detailed verbal description and object handling sessions for blind and partially sighted visitors, and the inclusion of music and song to enhance interpretation of the collection. A new audio guide selection will also be made available.

National Gallery Director, Nicholas Penny, said:

‘The event on 29 June is a natural development of many of the initiatives that the National Gallery's Education Department has implemented in recent years, helping those with disabilities to access the collection and working with charities and organisations to further this aim.

'By doing this, we hope not only to provide a special welcome to those who attend, but to encourage other institutions to do likewise, to encourage sponsors to make events of this kind possible.’

Jane Turner, Director of Access to Art, said:

‘This is a great opportunity for disabled and older people to genuinely access the art at the National Gallery. Our charity, Access to Art, understands that access is a lot more than good building design.

'It’s about being able to get to a gallery, having support available and, of course, how the art is presented. It’s about a positive gallery experience. We have been working closely with the National Gallery to make this evening special and something our members will remember for a long time.

'Many are in their 80s and 90s and this will be a chance for them to return to paintings they may have seen in their youth.’

As part of its wider strategic objective to provide access to the collection, the National Gallery is committed to finding imaginative and illuminating ways to nurture interest in its collection among a wide and diverse public.

The Gallery encourages and seeks ways to enable the widest possible audience to study the collection and continues to consult with people with disabilities and specialist organisations on the best ways to improve access for everyone.

Access to Art makes it possible for disabled and older people to visit galleries and museums.

Booking for this event is essential. To book a place and to receive regular updates on BSL events, contact or call 020 7747 5855

National Gallery | Van Gogh | Monet | Jane Turner |

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