Introducing the ART of TOUCH:
The Open Museum's Touch Tables
An exciting, innovative new art resource for people in the later stages of dementia or with more severe learning disabilities, has recently been developed by Leicestershire’s Open Museum.
Consultation the Open Museum has undertaken revealed that carers can sometimes be nervous about using real art and museum objects in case they get damaged or are thrown. This has meant that people who could particularly benefit from handling and touching objects, can sometimes be excluded from art and reminiscence sessions. Leicestershire’s Open Museum Service was keen to find a solution to this. Working in consultation with carers, art therapists in Leicestershire care homes, and a Senior Lecturer on dementia from De Montfort University, two new interactive Touch Tables have been created.
Select any image on this page to view a larger photo
These Touch Tables contain interactive art in the form of "Touch Tiles". A total of 22 interactive "Touch Tiles" have been created by especially commissioned artists. Four tiles are inserted into the table at a time, and 11 pieces are supplied with each table, allowing them to be swapped round while in use.
The touch senses remain the strongest stimulus after hearing and sight has deteriorated, and people with dementia are drawn to things they can find tangible through touch – in many cases finding comfort in the sensations felt through the finger tips. Each Touch Table has been designed with this in mind, and is the result of extensive testing with, and feedback from, target users.
The tables make art accessible, encouraging interaction and response to visual and touch stimulus. The impact that each "Touch Tile" has varies but generally their effect is calming soothing, entertaining, and in some cases, responses can be amusing and humorous!
The tables are height adjustable to allow wheel chairs to be wheeled under, and they can be tilted like an easel so users can come into close contact with the artworks. Users who have a tendency to wander will be able to come back to them time and time again as the interactive pieces are changed round.
We hope the Touch Tables will provide an all round enjoyable experience for everyone!
Contact the Open Museum for further information about the Touch Table and how you can use it.
Page Last Updated: 30 June 2011