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Jewish Journal

Israeli museum exhibit simulates aging

JTA

September 10, 2012 | 9:17 am

The Yanshul ("Cat-Owl"), the symbol of the Holon's Children's Museum, in Holon, Israel.

The Yanshul ("Cat-Owl"), the symbol of the Holon's Children's Museum, in Holon, Israel.

An Israeli children's museum opened an exhibit to simulate the aging process.

The Children's Museum in Holon, located outside of Tel Aviv, opened the exhibit "Dialogue With Time" this month. The exhibit, which the museum says is the first of its kind in the world, joins the museum's interactive exhibits on blindness, "Dialogue in the Dark," and deafness, "Invitation to Silence."

The exhibits use blind, deaf and elderly guides to help visitors gain an appreciation for the challenges of the handicapped.

“Our goal as a museum is not simply to inform, but also to change the way our visitors think about the world around them," said Gil Omer, the museum’s director general. “The Dialogue with Time exhibit, the first of its type anywhere in the world, allows our guests of all ages an experience as close as possible to that which comes with the aging process.  We know that people will gain new perspectives about the elderly and recognize that aging need not be viewed as only a limiting experience and that just like we shouldn’t judge people based on race or gender, we also shouldn’t judge them simply because they are old.”

Museum visitors simulate the experiences of the elderly in a room that presents numerous physical challenges that come with age, such as coping with reduced muscle strength and memory and hearing loss.

In another area of the exhibit, visitors offer their opinions on their perceptions of an elderly person’s fitness for particularly sensitive jobs like an airline pilot or a ritual circumciser, revealing often unknown prejudices about the elderly.

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