Greenbelt Nature Center, Staten Island Conservancy

In our infancy, our exploration of the world begins with the primary senses of touch, taste and smell. The tactile sense remains with us throughout our lives. The gesture of opening a book and turning the pages, touching the remote, opening an envelope, peeling an orange may all seem quite simple, but each touches a fundamental urge to explore and connect us to the world outside. Sometimes in doing this we even manipulate and change that world. It is basic to our survival.

The tactile world is essential to our design process. In museums, we are often deprived of a meaningful tactile experience. But this urge cannot be quelled. To ignore it is to deny the visitors the use of one of their primary senses – touch. Reintroducing this ability to manipulate the physical world may even prompt a new way of thinking. It allows the visitor to make new connections through touch creating a more memorable experience.