Touch Tour

Several people on a touch tour.

Free Touch Tours

Available for blind and visually-impaired people, this interactive 60-minute tour explores the From Stone to Silicone exhibition featuring art from ancient Mesopotamia. Touchable artifacts spark discussion about the art in the Assyrian palace of King Ashunasurpal II. Service animals are welcome.

To reserve a Touch Tour or to request information, please complete the online reservation request form. The reservationist will contact you for additional information and to answer any questions you may have. You may also call (617) 495-3216.

Reservations are available for tours during the fall and spring semesters, except during holidays, Wintersession, and recess breaks. See the Harvard academic calendar for dates. Tours are offered at 1:00 pm Sundays or 2:00 pm Wednesdays starting February 9, 2020 through March 13 and from March 25 through April 29, 2020. Summer tours are available upon request.

Accessible Entrance

The Museum at 6 Divinity Ave can be accessed from the street via 10 stairs to a landing and two sets of double doors. There are handrails on both sides. Pass through the two sets of double doors into the building and progress straight to the end of the hallway where the visitor service desk is stationed to your left. The representative can answer questions, check a coat and direct you to the waiting area for your tour guide. When the guide arrives you will progress together with the guide via elevator to the third floor for the tour.

Street-level elevator access is at the rear of the building. When facing the building turn right on the sidewalk and follow the path off the sidewalk to the left. Enter the vestibule and find the buttons for the elevator on the left. Once inside, press the buttons for the first floor, also on your left. Exit straight from the elevator and the visitor service representative desk is on your right.

Touch Tours for Visitors with Low Vision at the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East

About the Exhibit

This exhibit contains art about Mesopotamia, where the first cities and the earliest writing emerged about 5,000 years ago.

Mesopotamia, covered what is modern-day Iraq and parts of Syria, Iran and Turkey. Rulers then recorded their mighty acts in written and illustrated texts on stone monuments called stelae and on carved stone plaques called reliefs. These were intended to be official and permanent accounts of the victorious wars and ambitious building projects undertaken by these rulers, who were inspired and protected by their gods.

The artifacts here are not originals, but antique or modern replicas. As they are cast from plaster or resin, we call them casts. They were made as valuable teaching tools before travel was quick and the internet and other media could take us around the world. We will be able to carefully touch some of them on the tour.