I love visiting museums. Don’t you?
Lipreading Mom is fortunate to live in the same state as the United States’ only Deaf cultural museum. The Deaf Cultural Center and William J. Marra Museum (DCC) in Olathe, Kansas, houses artifacts from the Kansas School for the Deaf (located across the street) and much more… State and national Deaf history displays… A prototype apartment wired with Deaf-accessible technology… A captioned movie about the Deaf culture… Hands-on sign language classes for all ages… Artwork by Deaf artists.
Did I mention the museum’s tour guides are some of the friendliest on the planet?
What I Learned at the Deaf Cultural Center
A few weeks ago, I held a book signing for Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom at the DCC. Director Sandra Kelly (who is hearing) sign-interpreted while I did a book reading, allowing the event to be accessible to all. She did the same thing for my 2009 book signing event for Lip Reader. Regardless of hearing ability, we all felt welcomed by Sandra and her volunteers.
A week later, I returned with a friend who had traveled from Utah. Tara Chevrestt-Hightower is an accomplished author who, because of her own profound hearing loss, was eager to tour the DCC. We were greeted by Chuck, a bubbly tour guide who happens to be Deaf. Chuck spoke and signed while leading the tour. He made sure to face me and Tara so we could lip read him. Tara, who doesn’t use sign language, chatted with us about her experiences growing up as a lip reader. It was interesting to learn how much Tara, Chuck, and I had in common as people who rely on lipreading.
Afterward, Sandra explained that the DCC is inclusive of all communication methods—sign language, lipreading, cued speech, speaking, assistive listening devices, pen and paper. No one at the museum is frowned upon if they don’t use sign language. Sandra made such an impression on Tara that she flew home the next week and blogged about how the museum helped her better grasp her identity as a person with hearing loss.
I met some kindred spirits in Tara, Sandra, and Chuck.
If you are planning 2013 travel, I highly recommend a visit to Kansas and the DCC. Maybe you’ll learn something cool that you can share with Lipreading Mom.
Have You Ever Visited the Deaf Cultural Center…or Another Deaf-Friendly Museum?
I’d love to read your comments! Take a moment to share your experience with me and fellow readers by commenting below.