Museo Tiflológico (Museum for the Blind)
Open to everyone, Madrid’s Museum for the Blind offers a literal hands-on experience for visitors, visually impaired or not. Built on a “Touch, Touch and Touch Some More” concept, the museum is an experience in tactile sensations coupled with a new way of appreciating the world and the extraordinary talents of the visually handicapped.
The term “tiflológico” is Greek in origin and refers to the study of cultural aspects of the blind experience from a historic perspective.
Equipped with a recorded voice that tells you where you are going and what is in each room, the museum is divided into three main sections. Sala de Maquetas, (room for scale models of buildings); Salas de Obras de Artistas, (rooms for works by blind or visually impaired artists) and Sala de Material Tiflológico, (room for materials used by blind people through history) and includes the history of Braille and other accessible writing systems used in teaching and industrial arts.
What to touch and feel in the Salas de Maquetas? You might want to caress the nooks and crannies of Granada’s Alhambra; Gaudi’s magnificent Sagrada Familia in Barcelona; the Leaning Tower of Pisa; the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the contours and intricacies of El Escorial or Segovia’s ancient Roman aqueduct. This is just a sampling of what is waiting for your exploring fingers to learn about from a completely different perspective.
Just across the hall from the models are the two rooms that comprise Salas de Obras de Artistas. Both are filled with paintings, sculptures and other forms of art made by blind or visually impaired artists. The works are superb, and had you not been fully aware you were in a museum for the blind, you would never believe it.
Down a few stairs to the final room, Sala de Material Tiflológico showcases materials and tools used in daily life of the blind throughout the history.
Conceived, built and managed by ONCE, the Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles (National Organisation of the Blind) Museo Tiflológico opened in December, 1992.
You’ve probably realized that distinctive yellow stripe at the building’s entrance looked familiar. It should. To employ the visually impaired, ONCE handles the sale of all lottery tickets in Spain.
Museum hours of operation: Tuesday to Friday 10am to 2pm (14.00) and 5pm (17.00) to 8pm (20.00);
Saturday: 10am to 2pm (14.00). Closed Mondays, Sundays and public holidays