APH Press Release

Helen Keller Exhibit Available to Travel

Informative and Inspirational exhibition focuses on how educational opportunities for students who are blind have changed since Keller’s time

Louisville, KY (August 22, 2013) – The celebrated exhibit Child in a Strange Country: Helen Keller and the History of Education for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired is now available to travel to venues in the U.S. The exhibit debuted in Louisville at the end of 2012, where it was viewed by over 5,500 visitors. After the Louisville showing, it went to the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Austin, Texas. It will open at Webber Center Gallery, College of Central Florida, in September 2013. The hands-on exhibit is designed to be displayed in museums and other exhibit spaces. For more information about booking this exhibition, contact Anne Rich at (502) 899-2364.

The exhibit was organized by Mike Hudson, Director of the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). 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.

“This exhibit celebrates the positive ‘WE CAN’ attitude towards building independence through education, which is one of the core principles that APH was founded upon,” said Mike Hudson. “We are very proud of this exhibit and excited to share it with audiences of all ages across the country.”

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. Labels are available in large-print, braille, and audio versions recorded in the APH studios in Louisville, Kentucky.

The flexible floor plan is intended for spaces between 1,500 and 2,500 square feet. It features thirty-four artifacts, including a “washboard” slate used to write braille, similar to models developed by Louis Braille himself, and a giant thirty inch diameter relief model of the Earth.

Educational materials with suggestions for interpreting the exhibit for various groups (children, adults, those who are visually impaired) are part of the rental package.

For more detailed information about the contents of the exhibit and the booking fees, visit www.aph.org/museum/strange-country/.

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 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/museum or call (502) 895-2405, ext.365.

About the American Printing House for the Blind

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.

APH manufactures textbooks and magazines in braille, large print, recorded, and digital formats. APH also manufactures hundreds of educational, recreational, and daily living products. APH’s fully-accessible website (www.aph.org) features information about APH products and services, online ordering of products, and free information on a wide variety of blindness-related topics.

The American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. is located at 1839 Frankfort Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky. For more information, call (502) 895-2405 or log on to www.aph.org

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