Unique interactive event gives youth who are blind a hands-on learning experience at the Milwaukee Public Museum
March 14, 2018
For Immediate Release
16th ANNUAL “BRAILLE GAMES” SET FOR MARCH 15 AT THE MILWAUKEE PUBLIC MUSEUM
Unique interactive braille activity sponsored by Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL), Audio & Braille Literacy Enhancement (ABLE), Vision Forward Association, the Milwaukee Public Museum and local school districts.
Milwaukee, WI – For more than a decade, blind and visually impaired children and adults have taken part in a unique intergenerational activity to improve their braille skills and celebrate how braille brings a world of information to their fingertips. On Thursday, March 15, the 16th Annual Braille Games will be hosted at the Milwaukee Public Museum, from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. The event is a collaboration of the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library, ABLE, Vision Forward Association and the Milwaukee Public Museum.
“Braille Games is such an important opportunity for blind children to use braille in a fun and interactive way while being mentored by blind adults who are self-sufficient and independent. These mentors share their skills in reading and writing braille while talking about their studies in college and their professions. It’s crucial for blind children to know the vast array of opportunities available to them in adulthood,” said Cheryl Orgas, Executive Director for ABLE.
This year’s Braille Games “Native Americans of North America” will feature four exhibit stations that will feature objects and artifacts from the museum’s collections. Native American people and their life-ways, both contemporary and past, will be highlighted, making strong connections between people and their environment. Students will engage with tactile objects, then practice braille reading and writing through activities and games led by educators, volunteers and mentors.
“The museum is excited to host Braille Games again this year,” said Dawn Koceja, Accessibility Coordinator at the Milwaukee Public Museum. “It’s part of our mission to inspire curiosity and excite minds. By using tactile objects and artifacts, students who are blind have the opportunity to connect with our collections through hands-on learning. It’s a wonderful event that MPM is proud to be a part of.”
“I really enjoy seeing the children and adults enjoying a shared knowledge of braille,” added Linda Vincent, Management Librarian for WTBBL. “There are always many smiles, a lot of laughter and some hugs. What a great way for the community to come together.”
“Vision Forward is proud to be involved in the Braille Games,” said Terri Davis, Executive Director for Vision Forward. “This is an amazing collaborative effort and we strongly believe in its long term impact on the students.”
Editor’s Note: Reporters and photographers are invited to cover this event. For more information and/or to schedule interviews or make special photo arrangements, please contact Kaylee Bast, Cheryl Orgas, Dena Fellows or Linda Vincent as noted above.
Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement, Inc. (ABLE) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that provides alternative ways for people with print disabilities to read. ABLE was started in 1965 by a group of volunteers who learned how to braille in order to transcribe textbooks for blind students at local elementary schools. Today, ABLE provides braille and audio transcriptions of books and other printed materials for persons who are blind, visually impaired or have print disabilities that prevent them from reading standard print. ABLE is located in the Central Library Building of the Milwaukee Public Library. For more information, visit ablenow.org.
Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) is a natural and human history museum located in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The museum was chartered in 1882 and opened to the public in 1884. The MPM has three floors of exhibits that encompass life-size dioramas, walk-through villages, world cultures, dinosaurs, a rain forest and a live butterfly garden, as well as the Daniel M. Soref National Geographic Theater and Planetarium. The museum houses more than 4 million objects and hosts nearly half a million visitors each year. The MPM is operated by Milwaukee Public Museum, Inc., a private, non-profit company, and its facilities and collections are held in trust and supported by Milwaukee County for the benefit of the public. For more information, visit www.mpm.edu.
Vision Forward Association is Southeastern Wisconsin’s premier resource for people who are blind or visually impaired. Our vision is to provide specialized services and programs to people of all ages and at all stages of vision loss so that they have every opportunity to be vital contributing members of our society. For more information, visit www.vision-forward.org.
Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) is part of the Talking Book Program of the Library of Congress. WTBBL provides braille and recorded books and playback equipment, through the United States postal service, for those Wisconsin residents who for any physical reason cannot read standard print. At present the WTBBL serves nearly 7,000 active readers throughout the state, both adults and children. Annual circulation is over 370,000 items per year and growing. All books, equipment and services, including the mailing of materials, are free to qualifying individuals. For more information, visit dpi.wi.gov/talkingbooks.