Nothing makes a museum security guard cringe more than an engaged and fascinated visitor reaching out to touch a priceless work of art. And for good reason. Those touches, especially cumulatively, can do some serious damage. Besides breaking or damaging the item outright, the oils on our skin will also break down the items over time. Perhaps the primary reason not to touch the artifacts is out of respect for their history and what they represent.
In light of these compelling reasons, why is it that so many people like to touch artwork? Some visitors may be attempting to connect with the ancient artist, imagining what it was like to paint or sculpt the item or how they felt while creating it. One visitor described their experience as “like touching the past”. Others may be impressed by the quality or weight of the item compared to the many “disposable” items we encounter today. Then there is the allure of new textures or materials we may never have encountered before.
There is no escaping the fact that touch is a powerful sense we regularly use to connect us with the world around us. It is also a sense that is difficult to shut out, especially when we are feeling inspired. This challenge for museum security professionals and others tasked with artwork protection isn’t going away. Regardless of the reason your visitors are touching your art, Art Sentry Touch Protection technology can help gently guide your valued visitors away from this habit while still preserving the immersive art experience.
So, what is the exact reason for all of the touching? Only the toucher knows...maybe even they don’t know.
But you might just want to consider incorporating some additional tactile exhibits into your space to satisfy their curiosity.
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