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Connect the Dots Sets the Stage for The Dot Experience

A young boy with glasses and another young child play on a Reach & Match mat. Behind them, a faux brick building facade with the PNC Bank logo at the top, mimicking a sign, can be seen.

Churchill Downs, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Muhammad Ali Center, and many more are on a long list of attractions that draw people from around the world to Louisville, KY. Here at APH we are working hard to add another destination to that list! Designed with an unprecedented set of applied inclusive design standards that puts disability access front and center, The Dot Experience aims to be the most accessible museum in the world. Even though The Dot Experience won’t open until 2026, there is still a great need for education about the world of blindness and low vision, which is where Connect the Dots comes into play. “While we bring our innovative, inclusively designed experience to life in Louisville at APH, we are engaging simultaneously in grassroots community programming through Connect the Dots powered by PNC Foundation,” said Jo Haas, VP of Advancement, and The Dot Experience. “We didn’t want the public to have to wait for our building and exhibits to be finished, so we created this series of family festivals to bring The Dot Experience ethos of ‘touch everything’ and its stories of individuals who are blind and low vision to our community libraries in the meantime.” Leading up to the official opening, children and adults will begin learning, understanding, and even applying this new perspective about blindness to creating a better world for all.

Through a variety of themes, each Connect the Dots event embodies the spirit of The Dot Experience by guiding those in the community to identify barriers to inclusion and participate in creating a more welcoming society for all. On May 11, Connect the Dots joined the Louisville Public Library at their Main branch for their “How to Festival.” The festival was a free, interactive learning celebration that featured more than 50 “how-to” sessions taught by local experts. APH’s station gave children the chance to discover both ancient tools and modern technology that everyone can use to make sense of math. Our blind volunteers were able to demonstrate in person how they do math and what tools they use to empower them.

Each event has helped bring a better understanding of the realities of blindness and low vision to our community, and we are so proud of the reach it has had already. “In 2024, Connect the Dots has introduced nearly 2,000 families to powerful access and inclusion concepts through play,” said Jo. Powered by PNC and hosted by the Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL), these family-festival-style events create opportunities for kids to get curious. “They’ve discovered firsthand and hands-on how people who are blind or have low vision achieve both ordinary and extraordinary feats,” said Erin Sigmund, APH Community Relations & Policy Advisor. When asked what the most impactful part of Connect the Dots has been to her, Erin commented “Some of the most inspiring moments have come from the unprompted questions young participants have asked, sparked by their engagement with the activities. Questions like, ‘How can you swim if you can’t see?’ ‘How should I respond when my friends at school say something that’s ableist?’ and ‘Mom, can you download that MathRobot™ to my tablet?’ demonstrate that Louisville’s children are connecting the dots for access beyond each festival ─they’re breaking barriers for a more inclusive tomorrow.” We have loved getting to share our knowledge with the community and look forward to expanding on it even further with the opening of The Dot Experience.

Make sure to check out the full list of Connect the Dots events and follow The Dot Experience on Facebook and X for updates on the museum.

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