SHOW LESS
WEATHER ALERT
StormWatch7 Weather Update   
SEE MORE
Another round of snow could be headed to the DMV this weekend. Our StormWatch7 team is tracking when the storm will arrive
SNOW PREPS
TIMELINE
SEND US YOUR PICS!
Smithsonian offers tours for visually impaired
by Victoria Sanchez/ABC7
Friday, November 30th 2018
Smithsonian offers tours for visually impaired. (ABC7)
WASHINGTON (ABC7) — The Smithsonian American Art Museum is offering ways for people with different abilities to explore and enjoy the artwork, history and culture in Washington D.C. Docent-led tours for the visually impaired are opening new opportunities for locals.
People from all over the world travel to the Nation’s Capital. So far, more than two million visitors this year from around the world have walked the halls of the American Art Museum and got a peek in to the lives of Americans past and present. Some residents felt they were not able to enjoy the venue like everyone else.
“This collection is a reflection of who we are as Americans. It tells a history of our culture and our people and it does it visually,” said Carol Wilson, Lunder Education Chair at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
One Thursday afternoon, a small group started a docent-led tour. Some arm in arm, leisurely strolled down one of the halls.
“When we walk into that gallery, we will be surrounded by people staring at us because these are portraits,” explained museum docent David Weisz.
Exhibits for sight alone can cause some visitors to feel isolated.
“I would go into a museum and I would feel lost, many times depressed. Like, this is not for me. They don’t want me here. And now I leave and I have these images in my head which I can refer to many times for weeks, even years later,” said Kilof Legge.
Legally Blind Legge is not alone.
“Kilof, what do you see? Because I just see a bunch of colors,” said visually impaired visitor John Guzik as he looked at a painting.
“At this point I can’t drive, read, recognize people,” explained Legge.
“I tell people, it’s like I see one piece of a 1,000-piece puzzle,” said Jane Stanley.
“If your vision is a circle, I have an M&M in the middle,” explained Guzik.
In the monthly tour at the museum, all the participants are visually impaired. Stereotypical canes and blacked out sunglasses are nowhere to be found. While the group does walk slower, they travel with confidence and help each other out.
“Surfaces change, so be careful. And it’s a little bit, slightly downhill,” Weisz said as he was leading the group out of a doorway.
“I look like I can see a lot more than I see. I guess I just want to see more so I try,” said Stanley warmly.
The tours have specially trained docents that use colorful and descriptive words. They pass around touchable object like marble.
“Even though it’s cold, it’s not the hardest rock. It’s a soft rock compared to a lot of others,” said Weisz as the participants were passing the white block around.
At the next artwork, Weisz took out a painter’s palette with multiple 3D painted brushstrokes and pointed out which one resembled the painting they were studying.
He also played music inspired by piece.
“All the spectacular things going on and you’re going to hear in a minute the waves. The wind and the waves,” Weisz said over the orchestra music coming from his phone.
Some paintings and sculptures have foam-board cutouts for fingers to follow along as it’s being described. It brings the unseen piece to life.
“In this area here, we have some trees. They are dark, very beautifully painted, very detail painted. And in the background, I’m going to move you up here, this is a combination up here of sky and mountains,” Weisz described to Stanley as he helped guide her hand around the foam board.
“Having somebody describe what you’re seeing, I think is an amazing service that the museum provides,” said Guzik.
While many visitors spend a few moments looking at a piece, this group gets to experience more than what’s on the surface.
“The beauty of a work of art is you can experience it even if you can’t see it,” said Wilson.
Artwork so often creates a space for discussion, learning and community. For the visually impaired, that faded away until now.
“It’s stimulating and it adds an extra dimension to my life that was missing,” said Stanley.
“Now I leave and I have these images in my head which I can refer to many times for weeks, even years later,” said Legge.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum offers tours for the visually impaired and tours in sign language. For more information click here.


4 hospitalized after shooting near Days Inn hotel in Northwest DC
by Ida Domingo
Thursday, January 27th 2022
4
VIEW ALL PHOTOS
The Metropolitan Police Department is responding to a shooting outside a Northwest DC hotel Thursday morning, Jan. 27, 2022. (7News)
WASHINGTON (7News) — The Metropolitan Police Department is responding outside a Northwest DC hotel Thursday morning after reports of a shooting.
NW DC shooting
Play video on original page
DC Fire EMS tells 7News that crews dispatched to a shooting in the 4400 block of Connecticut Ave. at 3:31 a.m.
They say four people were reportedly shot -- Two of them were transported to area hospitals and the other two were self transported.
7News is on the scene where several police vehicles are staged outside the Days Inn hotel.
The Metropolitan Police Department is responding to a shooting outside a Northwest DC hotel Thursday morning, Jan. 27, 2022. (7News)
This is a developing story. We will update with once we learn more.
Loading ...
Crisis in the Classroom imageCrisis in the Classroom   SEE MOREAs a part of our Crisis in the Classroom coverage, 7News is tracking the latest in Virginia on school mask mandates. Watch on-air and onlineIMPACT ON CHILDRENWHERE SCHOOLS STANDCOMPLETE COVERAGE