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Tactile Model of the York Minster Area
A useful and interesting 'tactile model' of the area surrounding York Minster has been installed in Minster Yard, near the Minster's West Front.
The model has been carefully designed to allow people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities to 'visualise' and interpret this part of the city. Although the model is broadly to scale, the corners and edges of buildings have been rounded-off (for safety reasons) and some of the streets have been widened (to ensure that chubby fingers can access them without becoming trapped). The scale of (and degree of detail for) the buildings has also been adjusted to draw attention to structures that are most likely to be of interest.
The model covers the north-western area of the city centre, including the city walls from Lendal Tower via Robin Hood's Tower to Monk Bar, York Minster and the surrounding Minster Precincts area, Stonegate, Duncombe Place and the River Ouse from Lendal Bridge to the Guildhall. Labels (featuring both raised lettering and braille) have been included for the key streets and buildings.
The model itself is a bronze casting made from a wooden pattern via the 'lost wax' process. The model was designed to be handled. The areas handled the most have become smooth and have remained bronze in colour, while areas that are rarely handled feel slightly rougher and have weathered to various shades of green (the colours that are typical of oxidised copper).
The model is mounted on a stone plinth that was carved by masons from the Minster Stoneyard / Mason's Lodge. The plinth was carefully designed to maximise accessibility: the model's relatively low height means that it can be comfortably viewed and / or touched by older children, wheelchair users, and standing adults. The overhanging design of the top allows wheelchair users to get close enough to reach over and touch all parts of the model.
The York Tactile Model was a joint Millennium Project by the Rotary Clubs of York Vikings, York Ainsty and York and the wooden pattern was designed by the Dog Rose Trust. The York Conservation Trust provided the £30,000 funding required for the project and the finished model was presented to the Lord Mayor of York on 8th May 2001.