Rita Solomon, believed to be one of the earliest Australians to use dogs for orientation and mobility, with her dog Chief in 1945
An important new exhibition at Melbourne Museum encourages visitors to see the world through the experiences of Australians who are blind or vision impaired.
A braille Playboy magazine, a talking ski bumbag and the ball bowled in the first match of blind cricket played in Melbourne nearly 100 years ago are just some of the innovations on show at Melbourne Museum's latest exhibition Living in a Sensory World: stories from people with blindness and low vision, opening on 7 August 2012.
"Melbourne Museum is proud to join Vision Australia in celebrating the many achievements of Australians who are blind or have low vision," said Brett Dunlop, Manager, Melbourne Museum.
"The significant challenges faced by those with impaired vision have inspired a history of incredible innovation that has changed the lives of those affected. Living in a Sensory World highlights these innovations – from the invention of braille through to the current development of the bionic eye."
The exhibition looks at how Australians with eye conditions learn, work, play sport, create art and carry out everyday tasks. Through objects, interactive displays and multimedia, the exhibition explores a world that relies on sound, touch and smell to navigate through the environment.
The exhibition features 100 objects, including those from Vision Australia's heritage collection and Museum Victoria's Royal Institute for the Blind collection. These include:
- Examples of braille and large print labeling, including a look at the history of Frenchman Louis Braille, who invented the tactile reading and writing format now used worldwide.
- Sonicguide glasses from the 1960s that used sounds to identify objects.
- A Taylor slate from the early 20th century that assisted people who were blind to learn maths.
- The cricket ball made of woven cane with bottle tops inside, which was used in the first blind cricket match played in Melbourne in 1922.
- A Bartophone– a nylon bumbag containing homemade speakers and an amplifier powered by a motorbike battery that enables Winter Paralympian Bart Bunting's guide to direct him through ski slopes at high speed.
- Cyclist Lindy Hou's helmet from the Sydney 2000 Paralympics.A simulation of the vision that might be possible with the bionic eye.
Living in a Sensory World: stories from people with blindness and low vision was developed by Vision Australia in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum. It is supported by Visions of Australia, an Australian government program supporting touring exhibitions by providing funding assistance for the development and touring of cultural material across Australia.
Exhibition audio guides can be downloaded from the Museum Victoria or Vision Australia websites. Guide dogs are welcome at Melbourne Museum.
Living in a Sensory World: stories from people with blindness and low vision
7 August to 28 October 2012
Included with Museum entry (adults $10, children and concessions FREE)
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