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APH exhibit about Helen Keller to open at the Explorium of Lexington, Feb. 28
Informative and inspirational exhibition focuses on how educational opportunities for students who are blind have changed since Keller’s time
By: American Printing House for the Blind, Inc
Using Helen’s educational journey as a lens, Child in a Strange Country explores the early devices and techniques that made it possible for children with vision loss to succeed in the classroom and celebrates the ingenuity of generations of teachers and students who have been part of that accomplishment.
“Child in a Strange Country” uses tactile reproductions and authentic artifacts to uncover the roots of modern education for children with vision loss. The exhibit is designed to be fully accessible and explores reading, science, math, and geography. Each section includes six panels mounted with text, historic photographs, and tactile reproductions or touchable examples of real artifacts. Each concludes with a sit-down touch table with interactive games and activities which spur the sensory imagination.
After the travelling exhibit closes, several items used by people with vision loss will become part of the Explorium’s collection. Vision simulating goggles, braillers, braille maps, and a braille atlas will be able to be used by children at the Museum or when we visit schools. These items will be incorporated into some existing exhibits to experience what it would be like to do the same activity but with a visual impairment. For instance, children can use vision simulating goggles to go through our maze to see how it is different than going through it fully sighted. During programs, children can type their story on a brailler. These are just a few examples of how children and adults will experience what it is like to have a vision loss. Understanding that people have different abilities is an important for children.
About Helen Keller:
In 1891, teacher Anne Sullivan wrote a report about her famous young student, Helen Keller, an Alabama girl who lost her hearing and sight at an early age.
“For the first two years of her intellectual life she was like a child in a strange country,” wrote Sullivan, realizing that for her student, no learning was possible until she could overcome the communication barrier posed by blindness and deafness. Eventually, however, Keller became the first deaf-blind woman in America to earn her undergraduate degree, graduating from Radcliffe in 1904.
This was made possible by a number of educational tools developed in Europe and the United States since the late eighteenth century, beginning with Valentin Hauy’s invention of the tactile book in 1786 in Paris, France. Hauy’s book featured raised letters, and helped prove that blind people could learn to read. Louis Braille’s dot code, introduced in 1829, allowed students to both read and write.
About the Explorium of Lexington:
The Explorium of Lexington is located in downtown Lexington, Kentucky in The Square. The Museum features 9 galleries of fun, educational, and interactive exhibits that are to be touched and played with by children and adults. Programs are also offered to enhance the visitor’s experience. The Explorium is geared for children ages 12 months – 12 years of age. Group visits, birthday parties, camps on no-school days (including Fayette county snow days), and group overnights are available by advance reservations. The Explorium of Lexington – the place that inspires life-long learning and curiosity.
About the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind:
The Museum, where visitors experience hands-on history, is open Monday through Saturday. It is located on the second floor of the American Printing House for the Blind, 1839 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky. Admission is free. Regular hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday and 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday. Visitors can write in braille, see a copy of Valentin Hauy’s tactile book embossed in 1786 in Paris, France, see the Book of Psalms from Helen Keller’s Bible (manufactured at APH), play a computer game designed for blind students, and much more. For more information, please visit www.aph.org/
Helen Keller: Child in a Strange Country is one of four exhibitions available to travel. For details about how to book this exhibit, and others, visit http://www.aph.org/
The American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the world's largest company devoted solely to researching, developing, and manufacturing products for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded in 1858, it is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. Under the 1879 federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind, APH is the official supplier of educational materials for visually impaired students in the U.S. who are working at less than college level.