Child in a Strange Country: Exhibit and Events


The traveling exhibit from the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind, "Child in a Strange Country: Helen Keller and the History of Education for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired" officially opens this Friday, May 2, with a reception featuring library director Josie Parker, Museum Director Micheal A. Hudson, harpist Deborah Gabrion, and refreshments.

But the exhibit is already assembled enough (in the Downtown Library's lobby and 3rd floor) to see it will be fun and informative featuring a big globe with raised features, selections of writing such as Valentin Hauy’s tactile book and Louis Braille’s dot code, and insights, events, and photographs from Helen's life.

The title of the exhibit comes from Anne Sullivan's report about Helen in which she said, “For the first two years of her intellectual life she was like a child in a strange country,” and noted that no learning was possible until she could overcome the communication barrier posed by blindness and deafness. With that in mind, “Child in a Strange Country” explores four primary subjects: Reading, Science, Math, and Geography. Using Helen Keller’s educational journey as a lens, the exhibit 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 interactive. You can touch and explore that big globe as much as you want.

If the exhibit whets your appetite, come see Child in a Strange Country or Why is Helen Keller at the Water Pump the Only Person Who Was Blind that Most Americans Know?, on Sunday, May 4 from 2 - 3:30 PM, a talk by Museum Director Micheal A. Hudson in which he explores major advances in learning and literacy since 1784 for people who are blind or visually impaired, introducing characters that most people do not know. Also join us on Wednesday, May 7 from 7 - 8:30 PM for Sensory Communication: Relaying and Receiving Information Through Touch, in which UM Performing Arts Technology Professor Sile O'Modhrain discusses touch, communication, and Helen Keller.

You may also be interested in Visions 2014 in the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College on Wednesday, May 14 from 10 AM - 3 PM, where a variety of exhibitors demonstrate the latest products and services for people with vision loss. The fair also features presentations by guest speakers from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Disabled, UM Kellogg Eye Center, WLBPD @ AADL, and the AT Guys.