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Introduction to The Dot Experience

The Dot Experience logo: the words “The Dot Experience” in bold black letters stacked, with the words “The” and “Dot” over the word “Experience.” The two lines of type are equal in length. “The” and “Experience” are the same size, but “Dot” is larger and more prominent than the other two words. To the right of the two lines of type is a braille cell made of six individually colored circles.

APH’s vision since 1858 is an accessible world, with opportunity for everyone. APH empowers people who are blind or low vision by providing accessible and innovative products, materials, and services for lifelong success. As part of that vision, APH broke ground on The Dot Experience, a museum that welcomes everyone, sets the standard for accessibility, and will lead as a model museum of inclusivity and accessibility, this spring. “We know The Dot Experience will be a leader when it comes to accessibility for all,” Dr. Craig Meador, president of APH, said. “It will be an amazing opportunity to highlight the history of blindness and low vision with a focus on the trailblazers of the past, present, and our hope is that it will inspire the future.”

Designed with the input of blind and low vision organizations and individuals, accessibility experts, and members of the community, the experience will chronicle APH’s long history in breaking barriers and innovation, opening the door for greater conversation around the lived experiences of people who are blind or low vision, and will be an invitation for visitors to make change in the world. “The Board of Trustees of APH is honored to support the work of this leading organization and the commitment to inclusiveness as the norm,” said APH Board Chair Phoebe A. Wood. “Our goal for the new museum and manufacturing tour is to become a significant visitor destination in Louisville, and also model what it is to be an inclusive museum and to share that with others.”

Paying homage to APH’s history and commitment to braille, the museum’s name represents the series of six dots used in braille. In combination, these six dots form letters, numbers, and words and serve as the code for communication and lifelong literacy for those who are blind or low vision. While museums have traditionally been structured in a way that limits the experience and enjoyment of visitors with disabilities, The Dot Experience brings stories to life on the world stage with inclusion, accessibility, and innovation always at the forefront. “It’s going to demystify blindness and show others how you could become a celebrity chef, how you could climb a mountain, or how you could get up and get on a bus and just go to an ordinary nine-to-five job,” APH’s Museum Director, Micheal Hudson, said.

Working with Solid Light, a Louisville based design firm, to lay out plans for the new museum, The Dot Experience will embrace the expression ‘nothing about us without us’ showcasing three main sections: how someone who is blind lives their everyday life, the life and legacy of Helen Keller, and innovation through history that has helped people who are blind. Solid Light Creative Director Ben Jett said one of the key steps is creating physical museum pieces people can touch, such as a replication of a scroll owned by Helen Keller. “We knew that we had to think about a lot of what we do the same, but a lot of what we do differently,” he said. “What we did from the beginning, which was shake hands with the idea that accessibility was the lead principle of this project.” The design firm will also help the museum with layout, speaker systems, graphics, and captioning. “From the galleries to the re-imagined manufacturing tour, this new, inclusive visitor experience will elevate the standard for access in the museum industry and beyond,” Owner and CEO of Solid Light, Cynthia Torp, said.

Set to open in 2025, the new The Dot Experience Museum will be 28,000 square feet, nearly five times the size of the existing museum. Among the artifacts in the new museum will be a piano Stevie Wonder played at the Michigan School for the Blind, Helen Keller’s desk and Bible, and the stories of many who were or are blind or low vision, including NASA employee Denna Lambert.

While you’re waiting for The Dot Experience to open, you can jump into the playful world of Connect the Dots, powered by the PNC Foundation! This educational series turns history and innovation into an exciting adventure for kids, making learning fun and inspiring a world of inclusivity. Learn more about our monthly festivals held in partnership with the Louisville Free Public Library!

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