Taking a ‘touching tour’ of a sculpture park

The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum makes art accessible to everyone, even visitors who can’t see or hear, such as Perkins spokesperson Jaimi Lard

Jaimi Lard poses by a large round sculpture made of bricks and roofing tiles

Jami Lard poses by the “DeCordova Ball” sculpture, which is an artistic representation of a building made of bricks and roofing tiles.

August 10, 2015

Jaimi Lard, who has been deaf and blind since birth, is a spokesperson for Perkins School for the Blind and an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. She has been a featured speaker for community groups, professional associations and school classes. She told the story of her visit to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum to her tactile sign language interpreter Christine Dwyer.

Hello! I’m Jaimi Lard. I went to a beautiful place called the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, in July. I went with my friends and we had a lot of fun. It sure was hot that day, though.

We met our tour guides Aaron, an intern who is legally blind, and Emily. We looked at several sculptures in the park.  There was the “DeCordova Ball” by Lars Fisk made from bricks. It was made to represent bigger buildings and what they look like.

We touched a huge stone head lying on the ground. I was so curious about how they carved the stone shapes of the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. I really wanted to know if there was something inside the eye but it was just a deep hole in the stone. It was like the face was staring up to the sky. It’s called the “Listening Stone” by J. Wheelright.

We saw a tall human statue called “Eve Celebrant” by Marianna Pineda. I loved the way the arms were held out straight in front of her. I gave her a big hug. We also looked at “Tower” by Sol Lewitt that reminded me of our Howe Building at Perkins School for the Blind. The stones felt the same.

We walked across the park to “Two Big Black Hearts” by Jim Dine. They were huge, standing side by side. When we touched them, we could feel different objects on the surface like shoes, shells, a variety of tools and even a hand shaped like the letter D in sign language. We took a nice group photo in front of them.

Despite the hot sun that day, I loved all the sculptures and the trees and plants. Visiting the sculpture park really felt like a nice summer day thing to do.

The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, located 20 miles northwest of Boston, is New England’s largest sculpture park. It features over 60 modern and contemporary sculptures and installations, as well as additional museum exhibits. From April through November, deCordova offers accessible Touch Tours for visitors who are blind or have low vision. Tours are led by deCordova’s museum guides and provide unique access to selected sculptures through tactile exploration.

Read more about: Deafblind, Living With Blindness