SAASTA getSETgo, January 2015: KZN Museum Service reaches out to visually impaired learners
Seven Pietermaritzburg schools were selected for the NSW programme – Arthur Blaxall School for the Blind, and the Haythorne, Sukuma, Willowfontein, Ikusaselihle, Laduma and Kharina secondary schools.
A window to new knowledge – learners eagerly explore the information on the aluminium Braille plates specially commissioned for National Science Week 2014
Professional staff members of the KZN Museum Service visited these schools and addressed learners on the various careers available in the museum sector. Brochures and posters were distributed during school visits and learners were given the opportunity to view and interact with exhibits and artifacts of the mobile museum bus. In addition, selected learners from these schools were transported to Comrades House Museum for a formal lecture on new developments in science, such as nanotechnology and indigenous knowledge systems (IKS).
The provincial library service also came on board to distribute posters, pamphlets and brochures and display exhibitions across libraries in the province.
The highlight of the project was disseminating information about science, technology and IKS to the visually impaired members of the community. Planning started early in 2014 when representatives of KZN Museum Service met with Mrs Val Hair, Branch Administrator of the Association for the Physically Challenged (APC) in Pietermaritzburg. Mrs Hair shared APC’s database of organisations that care for people with disabilities in the province with the organisers.
Part of the preparations for NSW involved liaising with Arthur Blaxall School for the Blind to invite their learners to be part of a two-day outreach programme. A document outlining the theme and subtheme of NSW 2014, as well as various careers in the Natural and Cultural Heritage sector, was compiled by KZN Museum Service and sent to
BlindSA presented the text in the form of aluminium Braille plates to allow for regular use by the target group. An aluminium Braille plate was made for each of the artifacts in the mobile museum bus with information for the learners. These were paid for by funding received from NSW 2014.
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