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Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art collaborates with EnChroma colorblind glasses to enhance community's experience of art

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The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art partnered with colorblind glasses company EnChroma to allow those with color vision deficiencies to better experience museum installations.

EnChroma glasses allow those with red-green color blindness to see more clearly and vibrantly. The museum’s association Board President Nathan Thompson, who experiences red-green color blindness, tested the glasses on one of the museum’s more high-profile pieces: Van Gogh’s Portrait of Alexander Reid.

“You see a lot more of the details and the shades,” Thompson said in a museum release. “It’s not like The Wizard of Oz where it goes from black and white to technicolor. But what you do catch is a lot more of the details and the subtleties in the paintings. It makes some parts pop more than others. It’s really neat to see.”

EnChroma works using a patented lens technology that is engineered with special optical filters, enhancing the separation between color channels to help the colorblind see colors more vibrantly, according to the news release. 

Director of Audience Development Lesha Maag was instrumental in acquiring the glasses, according to the release. She said the project has been somewhat emotional. 

“Providing this experience to our visitors has been a very important and sometimes emotional project for us,” Maag said in the release. “Watching someone wear the EnChroma glasses and see a painting as it was intended by the artist can be a very moving experience. I’m happy to have helped bring about these encounters with our collection.”

EnChroma CEO Erik Ritchie said he is also excited about the partnership.

“We are delighted to welcome the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art to the EnChroma Color Accessibility Program,” Ritchie said in the release. “We’re pleased that the museum will enable colorblind University of Oklahoma students, and those in the greater community, to experience iconic colorful artwork through our glasses.” 

The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is located in the OU Arts District on the corner of Elm Avenue and Boyd Street, at 555 Elm Ave. Admission is free and museum visitors with color vision deficiencies can borrow EnChroma glasses from the museum’s front desk.

To learn more about what these glasses can do, visit The Daily’s YouTube page to watch two of our red green colorblind staffers try out the glasses in the museum.

Quinn Daugherty is an incoming professional writing junior and a junior news reporter for The Daily.

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