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Pick of the month

Look, Touch, Listen and Smell Tactile sculptures and art installations, audio and touch tours, portable tactile maps, and Braille and large print guides are among sensory features recently installed at five attractions in the North East by Tyne and Wear Museums.

At Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields, a flexible sensory tour begins with a tactile model of the site. Static "sound stores" with induction loops are located in key areas, and various touch, and smell points bring the archaeology to life.

Segedenum Roman Fort in Wallsend offers a new audio tour, adapted for children and blind and partially sighted visitors. You can listen to tales by an archaeologist who worked on the site.

The Laing Art Gallery's touch tour, which was shortlisted for the Royal National Institute for the Blind Simply the Best Awards 2005, includes a tactile reproduction of Alexander Laing's bust, a tactile interpretation of the museum's celebrated stained-glass window and a hand-crafted book containing six tactile raised-line images that interpret paintings in the display.

The other sites to have benefited are the Discovery Museum in Newcastle, and Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens. The project, which was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the DCMSWolfson Foundation Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund, won the Best Innovation in Tourism Award at the North East Tourism Awards.

Pre-visit loan packs are available for blind and partially sighted visitors.

Tel: 0191 232 6789; info@twmuseums.org.uk; www.twmuseums.org.uk

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