Monday, January 4, 2010

Louis Braille's Birthday

Today at Please Touch Museum we celebrated the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of the Braille alphabet system! Braille was born in Paris in 1809, and became blind at the age of three from an accident in his father’s workshop. He was an incredibly gifted student and, in addition, a widely recognized organist, for which he performed in churches across France.

Braille completed his invention of the Braille alphabet system in 1824 at the age of 15. The Braille Alphabet uses 26 unique arrangements of up to six raised dots which correspond to each of the letters of the alphabet, creating a way for the blind and visually impaired to read through tactile rather than visual sense. Louis Braille also created Braille systems for numbers and music.

To celebrate his birthday in our Program Room, visitors were introduced to the Braille system through special Braille alphabet cards and the book The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria, which invites children to imagine colors as someone with impaired vision may experience them. There was also an open activity table which presented a variety of activities designed to allow children to experiment with different tactile materials and sensory objects. In addition to the sensory learning experience, kids were also encouraged to think about and describe what they were feeling, exercising important linguistic and critical thinking functions.

Here is a picture of our special guest pianist Maurice from Overbrook School for the Blind, who played piano for our visitors in the Program Room:


He was awesome! Don't forget to check our online calendar before your next visit!

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