The Disabling Museum, Part 3: Beyond Braille

When most of us think about visual disabilities, we think about blindness. 

 slide-112This is our picture of blindness – a totally blind person with a white cane. Most museums accommodate blind visitors with Braille labels and signage.

But Braille is not nearly enough. There are different kinds of blindness, and many, many degrees of visual impairment.  

  • Most Americans over 40 are farsighted. 
  • 20 million Americans age 65 and over have cataracts.
  • Eight million have major visual impairment.
  • Two million are legally blind.
  • Of the legally blind, only a small percentage are totally blind — that is, entirely without vision.
  • Of the totally blind, only 5 percent regularly read Braille.
  • Only 10 percent of totally blind children are taught Braille.

 So while Braille is certainly a good and correct accommodation, it addresses the needs of only a vanishingly small percentage of museum visitors.

 

 

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