The Museum That Gives Kids a New Perspective on Disability

Hearing, sight, and youth are underappreciated gifts

Nov 8, 2016
Children take part in the experiential Dialog with Time exhibition. (The Israeli Children's Museum/Tal Kirschenbaum)

Children take part in the experiential Dialog with Time exhibition. (The Israeli Children's Museum/Tal Kirschenbaum)

As far as children's museums go, new and exciting exhibits are always on the agenda to keep kids entertained and intrigued. But how to keep the wee ones interacting, while still tackling real life issues and enabling them to step into the footsteps of those with an entirely different perspective from their own? Enter the Children's Museum in Holon, Israel. The exemplary complex offers a thoughtful showcase of rotating exhibits and is home to three permanent exhibits. These experienteal exhibits - Invitation to Silence, Dialogue with Time, and Dialogue in the Dark - are unlike most any other experiences you'll find in any typical children's museum.

Invitation to Silence is an exhibit that enables participants to understand what it is like to live in the world of those who are hearing impaired. The guides are deaf or hearing impaired themselves and take participants on a 75-minute active journey, walking them through an experience of alternative communication, where non-spoken languages, 'hearing with one's eyes", sign language and body language are the only options.

Dialogue with Time is a one-of-a-kind exhibit guided by those 70 years old and older. It tackles the concept of old age and aging, through an intergenerational dialogue of experiences and games, addressing stereotypes, cliches and what it is truly like to age in our society as a whole.

Lastly, Dialogue in the Dark is guided by the blind and those who are vision impaired. The 75-minute tour is in complete darkness, tracking interpersonal and group dialogue settings that reassess the stereotypes associated with being blind.

All three exhibits offer children and adults valuable social lessons and a peek into worlds that are otherwise hard to explain. These exhibits can give participants a new perspective, gratitude, and empathy for the difficulties people with these disabilities face, while also championing their efforts in the challenges of everyday life, by re-framing stigmas and giving power and admiration to each group.

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ELIANNA BAR-EL, CONTRIBUTOR
Elianna has a background in English literature and psychology and works as an editor and freelance wardrobe stylist. She writes on travel, fashion, food and inspiring people.

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