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Geology exhibit for the blind opens at the Weis Museum

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Weis MuseumThe Weis Earth Science Museum at UWFox is pleased to announce the public opening of its new exhibit, Touching the Earth. This exhibit will especially delight visitors who are blind or visually impaired because it displays minerals, rocks, fossils and 3-D maps, all of which visitors can touch.

Signage describes what visitors are able to feel with their hands in the exhibit. A braille manual, magnifying lenses and large-print signage are available for those with visual challenges. Blindfolds are also available for sighted visitors who would like to experience the exhibit from a purely tactile perspective.

Dr. Joanne Kluessendorf, museum director, explains why most museums aren’t suitable for the visually impaired.

“Glass cases and roped-off displays typically offer nothing for the blind or visually impaired visitor,” Kluessendorf said. “Years ago I realized that a geologic exhibit could be designed for these visitors because many minerals, rocks and fossils would not be damaged by touching. Research that we did suggests this exhibit is very innovative and may be one of the first museum exhibits in the U.S. designed for the visually impaired.”

Together with the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired in Madison, the Weis Earth Science Museum acquired partial funding for Touching the Earth from U.S. Venture and the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

 

 

Posted on 1/22/14