Baithak evenings with Sahapedia | Understanding Museums through Inclusivity and Engagement
Making museums accessible for visitors with special needs is one of the aspects Indian museums are working on. As part of International Museum Day 2018 celebrations Sahapedia brings Baithak evenings to Vechaar Utensils Museum. The event will start with a welcome and an introduction to the museum by curator Noorul Khan, following this will be a blindfold tactile art workshop by Siddhant Shah of Access for ALL. Blindfold tactile art workshop aims to draw the attention of museums and sensitise them towards the requirements of those with special needs. There will also be an interactive session with Avani Varia on her work of mapping museums in Ahmedabad.
The Vechaar Utensils Museum in Ahmedabad is one of its kind in the world and boasts of a priceless collection of over 4500 unique pieces that narrate the story Indian cultural evolution, the human-need to create and the skill of crafting something beautiful, yet utilitarian. The museum also celebrates the diversity of craftsmanship in brass, terracotta, silver, wood, ivory, bronze and gold inlay work. The museum displays the graceful practicality of pots and utensils, with more than 4500 items from all over India, some 1000 years old. Look out for enormous oil containers, nutcrackers shaped like buxom women and a prototype samovar.
Siddhant Shah is a national-level awardee and founder of Access For ALL. He is a heritage architect and a disability access consultant with UNESCO, National Museum, DAG Modern, City Palace Museum, Mehrangarh Museum among other organisations. Shah specializes in conducting multi-sensory experiential workshops and heritage walks for audiences with special needs.
Shah found Access for ALL after his mother became partially sighted and he started observing the absence of accessibility for all. The organisation aims at pushing the boundaries of physical, intellectual and social access through innovative, indigenous design and advocacy while fostering an inclusive experiential culture.
Avani Varia is a heritage professional with a Masters degree in Arts and Heritage Management from London Metropolitan University. Museums of Ahmedabad is a public interest initiative catering to museums and private collectors that was started in 2014 by aVni, a social enterprise founded by Avani Varia. The initiative responds to the challenges faced by museums and private collectors. It provides consultation and services with the objective of making museums experiential learning spaces. Museums of Ahmedabad is actively working to facilitate accessibility to all audiences in collaboration with museums and experts.