Monday, August 26, 2013

Adventures in Boston: Museum of Science

This is the second part of our Boston adventure a few weeks ago. (Part 1). We spent the morning at National Braille Press and made our way to the Museum of Science for lunch and than explore the museum. This museum is one of my favorite places in Boston.  I have been visiting it since I was a kid myself. One of my favorite childhood memories was sleeping overnight in the museum.  We used to go the museum a lot when the kids were little (a lot is code for once a year).  We haven't been since Abby became blind. I wish we hadn't waited.

girl withe cane in front of a case with a raccoon.
Abby wanted me to take this picture I forget why but its cute. 

The museum is a great place to bring children of many ages. (toddlers to old folks.) I didn't realize how wonderful an experience it would be for my blind daughter.

There was auto description stations throughout the museum
First off the museum is very accessible.  There are auto description stations throughout the museum. When I say through out I don't mean a FEW places I  mean MOST places where there is print.  There is so much fun things to interact with and and touch.  Oh the food in the cafe is very yummy. They have cool shows. Abby got to see an opossum up close (much closer in than she could get int he wild and its was ALIVE). Its just a great place to visit.  Here is a link about the museum's MANY accessible features.

Here are some of the highlights. (only some, there was so many wonderful exhibits)

1. You can get up close and touch a huge engine.
a really big engine and a father showing his daughter.

2. You can put your brother on a bed of nails.
bed of names one kid on the bed one kid on the side
3. You can build a claw (there are some great  hands on engineering activities that different days. On our day it was build a claw. ) Check out the funny video of me telling Abby how her first claw was doing. (the second time it did pick up some of the items.)
girl with cane and boy building a claw

4.  You can use really big manipulatives to  better understand balance and weight.
 4. You can explore a tactile graphic of a mountain (with braille)
2 diffferent kinds of tactile maps showing the same thing different ways. (3d vs 2d)

5. You can be silly when you see a big bug.
boy reacts with humor of a big bug

6. You can push a really big block of stone using science. 

girl pushing handle dad pointing at large stone attached to handle.
 7. You can make new friends.
girl with cane in front of a Triceratopsboy in front of a Triceratops

 8. You can put the whole world in your hands and have a blast.
girl and boy in front of a large globe.
oooh don't forget to vote for Abby (Duffy Family) every day so she can win a Smart Brailler.

Vote for Abby: Help bring Marty the Smart Brailler home.

Remember when we had Marty the Smart Brailler came for a visit in the spring? (our Marty posts in April) Well he visited 6 different families during him tour.  One of those families will win Marty to own. All the families are very deserving. Help us bring Marty home.   You can vote every day till September 8th (so two weeks)  please consider supporting Abby.

So I know you are asking How do I vote?  Just visit the voting site at Wonderbaby and pick Duffy Family ---> Vote--->  

You can re-vote every 24 hours.  Vote and vote often. 

Abby using the smart brailler (its blue she is wearing a white shirt)

To find out more about the Perkins Smart Brailler visit

Thank you everyone for your support.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Adventures in Boston: National Braille Press

Last week the whole family had a wonderful day trip to Boston.   As I have explained before Boston isn't really that far from us but we generally only get a chance to go a few times a year.

We went to National Braille Press and the Museum of Science. I will be talking about our Museum of Science visit in my next blog post.

Abby's first ever braille book was from National Braille Press. NBP has been there from almost the very start.  I remember the excitement the book caused in the house. It was a regular print children's print book that has its binding removed (usually but not always) and braille added.  We have a cabinet almost full of these books. They are beautiful.  They generally release a new book every month as part of the Children's Braille Book Club .   They also offer many other titles for children.  National Braille Press one of my favorite sources of braille.
I have known for years that NBP offer tours of their facilities and I have wanted to go for years.  You can find out about how to book a tour your self here . The link also provides some information on the process of braille production.

So we parked near the science museum and than took the T (subway) to NBP.  It was easy and fun way to get there.  Its also great for Abby to get travel experience in a big city.

at the door of National Braille Press
 It was exciting when we got to the door because it was locked and you had ring the buzzer to get let in. But wait remember this is National Braille Press and on the door in braille was the directions to hit the buzzer.  Abby read the door for us and hit the buzzer so we could be let in.

exploring NBP titles
We were led into a conference room and encouraged to explore some of the titles that NBP sells.  Abby loved Make Way for Ducklings and read a few pages whiles we waited.  (its been added to our wish list) 

We than viewed a video about  National Braille Press.  Then were lead through all the departments including Transcription, Proofreading, Embossing, Pressing, Tactile Graphics and Finishing.  It was a wonderful learning experience and a lot of fun.   It was fascinating watching the big presses add braille from the plates.

I loved learning from the whole process. What was the biggest surprise was the level of work done by hand through out the process.  All the people we met from the different departments were so nice. It was an extra treat for them to have a braille reader as part of our party.   They were so kind to us and so wonderful with Abby.  

Abby and Sam were put to work at one point and they both loved that.  Abby said when it was all over her favorite part was the wonderful ladies down stairs and how nice they were to her and all the great things they showed her. I could really go on an on how wonderful everything was. We learned a lot and I really recommend a visit if you have a chance sometime.   Special locations  sometimes times have a mood, a vibe and this was one of those places . You couldn't help but feel the LOVE .. a pure JOY of braille through out the whole building.  Thank you to everyone at National Braille Press who gave our family such a wonderful experience. 

Abby being shown great stuff by one of the wonderful ladies in the basement. There was two that were very special to her.