American Foundation for the Blind to Open Helen Keller: A Daring Adventure, the First Comprehensive Exhibit of Icon's Artifacts

Exhibit Features 31 Items Never Before Seen by the Public

Explores Keller's Life as Equal Rights Activist, World-Renowned Goodwill Ambassador and Advocate for the Blind

NEW YORK, April 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) announced today it will open Helen Keller: A Daring Adventure, the first comprehensive exhibit of Helen Keller's artifacts, writings, photographs, and personal items.  The exhibit features 31 items never before seen by the public.   Helen Keller: A Daring Adventure reveals a new perspective on the life of Keller, who lost her sight and hearing at 19 months and went on to become an equal rights activist, world-renowned goodwill ambassador, advocate for the blind and Socialist.  Helen Keller: A Daring Adventure opens to the public on May 7, 2010 in a specially created gallery at AFB's New York City headquarters.

The exhibit tells Keller's story beyond "The Miracle Worker" and offers insight into one of the most influential and beloved figures of the 20th century.  The exhibit features a variety of her prized possessions including the earliest existing words she wrote as a child; the honorary Oscar she won for the documentary based on her life; two of her Socialist Party of America membership cards; and a Zulu shield and a silver-encased bible she received during her world travels.  All of the items in the show were culled from AFB's extensive Helen Keller Archives, which contains more than 80,000 items.  The items were bestowed to AFB by Keller, who worked for the organization for 44 years. Entrance to the exhibit is free and a $10 donation is suggested to help support AFB's new fundraising campaign to preserve and digitize all of Keller's items in the archive.

"For more than 40 years Helen Keller worked for the American Foundation for the Blind and tirelessly fought for the needs of blind and deaf-blind individuals.  While she was providing a voice for a community in need, she also was overcoming her own incredible odds and proving that people with disabilities could live complete, unrestricted lives," said Carl R. Augusto, American Foundation for the Blind president and CEO. "Helen Keller's life continues to be an inspiration for both the sighted and the blind and visually impaired, and we are proud to celebrate her daring life and contributions with Helen Keller: A Daring Adventure."

Keller once said, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."  The exhibit groups her artifacts into thematic sections so visitors can learn about Keller's own daring adventure.  The sections are:  Early Life & Childhood, Idealism & Activism, Author, World Traveler, Celebrity and a special section featuring gifts Keller received from around the world.  In addition, the exhibit will feature two interactive computer kiosks where visitors can access AFB's Helen Keller Kids Museum Online. One of the site's popular features is documentary footage of Anne Sullivan Macy demonstrating how Keller learned to speak. The exhibit is accessible to people with vision loss through Braille, large print guides and audio tours.

To help expand the opportunities for people to interact with the artifacts and learn from the exhibit, the American Foundation for the Blind is partnering with the Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) to create special programs for children.  The first program will take place at AFB on May 8, during the exhibit's opening weekend, and another program will be held in June at CMOM.  CMOM is a leader in creating innovative programs, workshops and exhibitions that regularly reach a wide audience of children and families.  

"Many people believe that 'The Miracle Worker' was where Helen Keller's story ended, but in fact, it's where it began," said Helen Selsdon, American Foundation for the Blind archivist. "She defiantly lived as no one imagined possible at the time, let alone for a woman who was both deaf and blind: advocating for people with disabilities, championing the rights of women, traveling as a global ambassador. It is no surprise that her story continues to resonate today, and this exhibit pays homage to her fighting spirit and, hopefully, inspires the rest of us to live as passionately as she did."

Helen Keller: A Daring Adventure is another facet of AFB's ongoing commitment to expanding possibilities for the more than 25 million Americans living with vision loss.  The American Foundation for the Blind continues Keller's legacy by advocating on behalf of people who are blind or visually impaired, broadening access to technology, providing job seeking resources and tools to people with vision loss and their family members, and promoting independent and healthy living.  AFB is headquartered in New York City, and has offices in Atlanta, San Francisco, Huntington, WV, Dallas, and Washington, DC. 

About the Exhibit

Helen Keller: A Daring Adventure is on display from May 7, 2010 through July 30, 2010 at the American Foundation for the Blind located at 2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1102. RSVP is required. For more information and to RSVP to visit the gallery, visit www.afb.org/helenkeller.

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB is also proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than forty years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. For more information visit us online at www.afb.org.

SOURCE American Foundation for the Blind



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