An exploration in accessible, tactile exhibition design for historical garments. Through industry research, interviews, review of related literature and my own personal experiences, I created a set of embellished tactile graphics aimed at communicating garment construction non-visually.
As a sighted person, fashion and textile exhibits are a feast for the eyes. For someone who is Blind or has Low Vision (BLV), however, these exhibits often offer very little outside of written or verbal descriptions. Fashion is full of textures and dimensions; how could such richness be boiled down to just a few lines of text? Additionally, fashion, or more generally garments, are often further made inaccessible through aesthetic and conservatorial choices such as, placement behind glass and/or use of low lighting that prevent visitors from better understanding an item’s construction.
My work looks at current museum garment exhibitions, common industry practices, and research in museum accessibility and garment exhibition design to develop novel approaches in accessible, tactile exhibition design for historical garments. ****Through my research, I discovered that very little has been written specifically about designing accessible content, tactile or otherwise, for exhibiting garments. Ultimately, I relied on my own professional knowledge of garment construction combined with current tactile graphic design guidelines and additional research to start filling in this gap.
For this iteration of my project, I created a series of tactile graphics aimed at providing an understanding of an historical garment’s construction details by tactile learners. This series of tactiles consists of raised line drawings on swell form (microcapsule) paper that have been embellished with threads, ribbons and buttons.