Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Welcomes Haben to Ottawa

Haben standing next to the Ottawa River with Parliament Hill in the background

The Eritrean Youth Initiative (EYI) invited me to Ottawa to keynote their inaugural fundraiser dinner. The sold-out event on June 24th raised scholarships for high school students heading to college. My friend Negash Haile and his colleagues at EYI brought together Canadians from diverse backgrounds to recognize students making a difference. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau … Read more

Exploring Museum Accessibility in St. Louis

Haben Dome-Climbing at the City Museum of St. Louis

Here’s a fun video of me exploring the City Museum in St. Louis. Climbing the giant dome at the City Museum, every step brought a fun surprise! Because I’m Deafblind I climbed by touch. Also, my guide dog can’t climb ladders…yet! :)

I visited the City Museum while in St. Louis last month to serve as a keynote speaker at the American Alliance of Museums conference. Speaking to four thousand representatives from museums around the world, I explained how museums could reach a larger audience by making their programs accessible to the approximately 1.3 billion people with disabilities in our world. Some of the recommendations I shared include: removing architectural barriers to allow access for patrons with mobility disabilities, programming digital materials for accessibility by blind patrons, inserting captions to videos, developing exhibits that spotlight disability stories, and designing exhibits that engage patrons through sight, sound, and touch.

Most museums instruct patrons not to touch exhibits, denying access to blind patrons. By contrast, the St. Louis City Museum reaches a large audience by providing numerous hands-on exhibits. I had so much fun exploring the City Museum. Hopefully more museums around the world will work to make their exhibits accessible to blind people.

Video description: In the first scene, Maxine the Seeing Eye Dog guides Haben across an arched bridge with steep steps. A spiral staircase and blue sky is in the background. In the next scene, Haben begins climbing towards the ceiling of a massive metal dome, using a series of metal ladders with platforms at regular intervals. The zigzagging ladders slant near the top, leading into a metal cage right beneath the ceiling. In the center of the cage is a narrow ladder leading to the roof. Haben feels around the side of the cage until she finds the ladder, then begins to climb. After reaching the top of the ladder, Haben pulls herself up onto the roof of the dome. In the last scene, Haben slides down a long white slide.