Aachen, Germany - Aachen Cathedral Mini-Sculpture



Aachen, Germany - Aachen Cathedral Mini-Sculpture

Catalog Entry

This artifact consists of a picture of a mini-sculpture of the Aachen Cathedral in Aachen, Germany.  This sculpture was made for people with visual impairments to experience the cathedral and be able to feel what it looks like. This mini-sculpture is incredibly detailed so that people can get the full experience. You are able to feel every detail of the cathedral and the different textures of it. These different textures help to indicate what material was used and can help a person visualize what it may look like.

One of the more famous creators of these sculptures is Egbert Broerken, a German sculptor. He has created over 120 of these sculptures all across Europe. Broerken has been creating sculptures like this one for the past twenty years, helping people all over the world. They take about eight to ten months to complete, and they are made after taking a lot of pictures to get everything just right. 

Many people who are visually impaired may feel the walls of the place where they live, but it may be hard to understand the dimensions of what they are feeling. They also can’t feel every aspect of the building and understand how large it is. With these mini-sculptures, people can realize how giant these monuments are and feel the details on these buildings. This is a positive step for people who have visual impairments to experience what other people do. Many of the sculptures also include braille descriptions. This helps to inform and orient them as to where they are. People with visual impairments are able to encounter architecture.

Architecture is an integral part of culture, which is why it is important for everyone to experience it. Architecture is something that varies based on location and time period. By looking at some of these famous monuments, people are able to understand the history along with it. When people aren’t able to see these pieces of history, they could miss out on an important part of their culture. These mini-sculptures help to provide people with visual impairments a different sense of architecture and culture. 

This artifact relates to disability because it is helpful to people who are visually impaired. These sculptures help to allow people with visual impairments to realize the beauty of architecture and the incredible details of these monuments. Even if, when touching the mini-sculptures, they don’t picture it exactly as what it looks like, they are able to create their own image. This is important because it helps spark creativity and can help create hope. A lot of people who are visually impaired from birth may not have ever seen a famous monument or any piece of architecture. When they touch and feel these mini-sculptures, they can make up their own image of what it may look like. This helps people create their own world and helps them connect with other people. When people with visual impairments are able to experience what others do, it can connect people and create a bond. It can become a topic of conversation or interest when maybe it wasn’t before. 

Some museums have created 3D replicas of famous artworks so people who are blind can experience them. They also increase the normally low light level to help assist people with visual impairments see better. These might also include braille descriptions and audio. Art is also something that is important for all people to be able to experience. What these museums are doing is very similar to what Egbert Broerken does. They both create detailed 3D sculptures so that people with visual impairments can feel what others see.

Broerken's particular replicas are made with varieties of textures. Every small detail is able to be felt, which is so important. An audio also assists in guiding the person so they can feel what they are seeing in their head. Overall, there are many accommodations that we can imagine for those with a visual disability.         


“Mini Sculptures in Front of Monuments Help Visually Impaired People Explore Architecture.” Vision Times, 27 Nov. 2019, https://www.visiontimes.com/2019/11/27/mini-sculptures-in-front-of-monuments-help-visually-impaired-people-explore-architecture.html.

Stewart, Jessica. “Miniature Sculptures in Front of Monuments Help Visually Impaired People Explore Architecture.” My Modern Met, 11 Nov. 2019, https://mymodernmet.com/bronze-scale-models-visually-impaired/.

Artifact Owner

Aachen Cathedral

Artifact Material

Cast in bronze

Catalog Entry Author(s)

Madison Stidham, Student, Fitchburg State University


Kisha G. Tracy



“Aachen, Germany - Aachen Cathedral Mini-Sculpture,” Cultural Heritage through Image, accessed May 26, 2024, https://culturalheritagethroughimage.omeka.net/items/show/137.

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