Braille Monitor                                             August/September 2015

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3DPhotoWorks Helps Commemorate History of the Organized Blind

by Anna Kresmer

From the Editor: Anna Kresmer is the librarian at the Jacobus tenBroek Library. She has been especially busy this year in carrying on the day-to-day work of the library, but in addition she has been asked to research a number of issues directly relating to the celebration of our anniversary. All of this she has performed with energy, enthusiasm, and good will. As can be seen from the following remarks, she exhibits all of these qualities in her work with 3D PhotoWorks, and here is what she has to say about its efforts on our behalf:

Timeline of the organized blind movement created by 3DPhotoWorks

As part of the celebrations for our seventy-fifth anniversary, the National Federation of the Blind was pleased to partner with the team at 3DPhotoWorks to create a tactile, talking timeline which chronicles the history of the NFB from our founding in 1940 to the present day. This timeline is filled with audio speeches from the current and past presidents, as well as tactile photographs that capture milestone events from throughout the past eight decades. It serves as both an introduction for newcomers and a trip down memory lane for veteran members, showcasing the impact of the Federation on blind men and women everywhere.

Mikaela Smith and her mother Robin closely examine the tactile nature of the timeline.Originally dreamed up by 3DPhotoworks co-founder John Olson, the project was developed in collaboration with the tenBroek Library and Clara Van Gerven, the International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind’s resident expert in tactile graphics. President Mark Riccobono was closely involved in the content development, in addition to voicing several of the audio segments. And Chris Danielsen, the NFB’s director of public relations, ensured that the Federation’s philosophy was accurately represented.

The mission of 3DPhotoworks is to make the world’s greatest art and photography available to blind people. They recently received their first patent and have seven other patent applications pending worldwide. They have also engaged with Federationists to form a group of technical advisors, including members Luc Gandarias, Lynn Jackson, Arthur Schreiber, and Ed Bible. John and his colleagues value their input immensely and say that they couldn't do this work without them.

This unique, museum-quality exhibit was on display throughout the festivities of the recent seventy-fifth anniversary convention, held in Orlando, Florida, July 4th through 10th. To ensure that the timeline was accessible to all visitors, a Braille transcript of the audio recordings was attached to the display. In addition, Federationist and technical advisor Luc Gandarias was on-hand to assist visitors and answer questions. The NFB plans to put the exhibit on display at our headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland, sometime in the near future, where it will continue to be a great way to experience the historic events that made our organization what it is today.

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