‘Crucial tool:’ Kids who are visually impaired practice with braille at Milwaukee Public Museum

Braille Games at Milwaukee Public Museum

MILWAUKEE -- Imagine touring the Milwaukee Public Museum with your eyes closed. How much would you be able to soak in? As it turns out, quite a lot.

“They can feel it, and sometimes they have the sound, so it’s really good for children with vision impairments," said Jasmine Allen, mother of 4-year-old Naomi.

On Thursday, March 15, the Milwaukee Public Museum hosted the 16th annual Braille Games, an event where children who are visually impaired can practice reading and writing braille through games and activities tied to different exhibits.

Braille Games at Milwaukee Public Museum

Braille Games at Milwaukee Public Museum

“Braille is a crucial tool for blind children to participate every day, in work, in school, in volunteer activities," said Cheryl Orgas, executive director of the Audio & Braille Literacy Enhancement (ABLE) organization.

ABLE sponsored the event,along with the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library, Vision Forward Association and the Milwaukee Public Museum. This year’s focus was on the Native American sections of the museum -- exploring the history and culture of groups from all over North America.

“There’s an educator who teaches the children about that particular area of the country," Orgas said.

Braille Games at Milwaukee Public Museum

Braille Games at Milwaukee Public Museum

Each activity was led by an adult mentor who is blind. It’s a feature of the Braille Games that organizers and parents alike say is empowering.

Braille Games at Milwaukee Public Museum

Braille Games at Milwaukee Public Museum

Cheryl Orgas

“So that children know that when they grow up, they can be independent, self-sufficient, and they can get jobs and go to school as well," Orgas said.

“It’s kind of inspiration for when they grow up. It’s like, 'oh, you know, there’s a future ahead of you.' That you can do things as well," Allen said.

It’s an event that broadens horizons, well beyond what the eyes can see.

Braille Games at Milwaukee Public Museum