APH Press Release
APH Hosts Free Event to Honor Helen Keller
Louisville, KY (February 17, 2016) This is Your Life, Helen Keller will explore little-known areas of this most famous person’s life. The performance will take place at the American Printing House for the Blind’s Museum on Saturday, February 20, from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Helen Keller, left blind and deaf by a childhood illness, was once the most famous child in the world.
When they met, in 1895, Mark Twain called her a miracle, and he called her teacher, Annie Sullivan, the miracle worker. Author William Gibson appropriated the phrase as the title of his play, The Miracle Worker, and of the movie that went on to win several Oscars in 1962.
Most people are familiar with the Helen Keller movie that ends at the well, with the magical moment Helen’s teacher spells “water” into her hand and connects her with language. But there’s much more to her story.
Helen grew up, graduated from Radcliffe College, and became a world-renowned figure, writing best-selling books, meeting with princes and presidents (see a video of her meeting with President Eisenhower) and campaigning tirelessly for human rights. She played a leading role in many of the significant political, social, and cultural movements of the 20th century.
- she spoke out for the rights of people with disabilities
- she was one of the founders of the American Civil Liberties Union
- she took on the medical establishment to improve health care for infants
- she was a militant socialist
- she once had to be protected by six policemen after delivering a fiery speech protesting America’s entry into World War I
To illuminate Keller’s experiences and influence, the Museum will stage a performance in the format of the television series, “This Is Your Life.” That program, first aired during the “golden age of television” in the 1950s, showcased extraordinary lives, as told through the recollections of people connected with the honoree. These include
- Alexander Graham Bell, who was Keller’s lifelong friend
- Mildred Keller, her younger sister; Annie Sullivan, her teacher and companion for 49 years
- John Macy, the private secretary who fired her interest in human rights
- Mark Twain, the famous author who shared her political and social views
- Robert Irwin, president of the American Foundation for the Blind, the organization that employed Keller as a fundraiser
- Polly Thomson, her companion for most of the final years of her life.
This event is free to the public, but registration is required. Please call (502) 899-2213, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, by February 19 to register.
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.
The Museum collection includes a display featuring the Book of Psalms from Helen Keller’s Bible (this Bible was embossed at APH). Helen Keller was inducted into the Hall of Fame at APH; a section of the Hall includes a 1930 video of Helen and Annie Sullivan talking about how Helen’s education began.
Regular hours are 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday-Friday and 10:00am to 3:00pm on Saturday. Visitors can write in braille, see the first book embossed for blind readers, created in France, in 1786, play a computer game designed for blind students, see the piano used by Stevie Wonder when he was a student at the Michigan School for the Blind, and much more. For more information, visit www.aph.org/museum or call (502) 895-2405 ext. 365 or ext 213.
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 nonprofit 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 including computer software and other technology items. APH’s fully-accessible web site 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