[Pibe-division] Accessibility in a museum: molds and book in the anthropod zoo

Jaquiss, Robert RJaquiss at nfb.org
Wed May 16 14:12:33 CDT 2012


Hello Jewel and list:

     If you want good replicas, I would suggest checking out Safari LTD. Their web site is:
www.safariltd.com Safari has a wide variety of animals, dinosaurs etc. Hope this helps.

Regards,

Robert


Robert Jaquiss
Access Technology Specialist
National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute
200 E. Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: (410) 659-9314, Ext.2422
Email: rjaquiss at nfb.org

-----Original Message-----
From: pibe-division-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:pibe-division-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Jewel
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 5:46 PM
To: Professionals in Blindness Education Division List
Subject: [Pibe-division] Accessibility in a museum: molds and book in the anthropod zoo

Dear list,
I am currently volunteering with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences to improve accessibility for the disabled. I am mainly focusing on accessibility for the blind, since that's the area I know the most about, but am also looking at accessibilty for people with wheelchairs and the hearing-impaired.

So, part of the project centers around what they affectionately call the "Anthropod Zoo." This is an area that houses anthropods of all types and kids can view  them through glass. Unfortunately, like many museum exhibits of this type, a blind or visually impaired child would quickly get frustrated and bored in this area. So, we have come up with a few solutions for this exhibit and I'd like your opinion and suggestions in regard to these ideas.

First, we plan to make molds of the anthropods of silicone or another durable material. The problem with silicone, in my opinion, is that the actual anthropods are covered in hard shells and silicone is very soft and rubbery, making the molds not quite equivalent. Thus, I'm looking for other durable materials that, while hard to break, feel more like the external shells of anthropods. Anyone know of a material that would fit this purpose? The molds, once made, would be glued to the wall beside each aquarium, and there would be a Braille label telling the child what this is a mold of.

Second is my pet project. I want to create a book of simple images of the anthropods overlayed by tactile images. There would be large print on the left, Braille on a seperate clrear sheet in the middle, and the image overlayed with the tactile image on the right. Children could find the anthropod in the book, then go find the mold, and if they have some sight, look for the animal in its aquarium. This book would be placed close to the aquariums so that students can go back and forth if they want, or look at it seperately.

Now, this project has several things that I need to know how to do. I need help from someone who has the equipment and the know-how to make the tactile graphics and describe them if necessary (no more than a single side of a page in Braille). Also, I need to know what material to use for the book; should I use laminated paper for the large print and thermaform for everything else?

Obviously I have my work cut out for me. What do you guys think of this project, and can anyone recommend someone to make the tactile graphics (whether for pay or as a volunteer)? Do any of you have suggestions as professionals, maybe something I've missed?

Thanks for any ideas or advice,
Amber "Jewel" Shuping
919.802.1576
herekittykat2 at gmail.com

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