American Printing House for the Blind (APH), the world’s premier nonprofit organization that creates accessible learning experiences through empowering people by providing accessible and innovative products, materials and services for lifelong success, is celebrating its 165th anniversary.
From simple beginnings with our first press that embossed books in the basement of Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) in 1866, to recording and pressing our first Talking Book, Gulliver’s Travels in 1936, to the January 2023 introduction of the Monarch, a device that will revolutionize the way braille and tactile graphics are delivered, APH has been a consistent innovator in an ever-changing world.
“It’s not just 165 years of creating braille, books, and products. It’s 165 years of innovation, determination, and creativity that has kept us going. This is the APH you still see today,” said Dr. Craig Meador, APH President. “We know the best is yet to come, as we will continue to break barriers and create equal opportunities for individuals we serve.”
In celebration of this milestone, APH is pleased to announce the renovation and expansion of their campus in Louisville, totaling over 100,000 square feet of combined construction which will include a brand-new Museum that will break ground in the spring. APH is making an anniversary announcement of the museum’s new name, which will be called The Dot Experience.
The Dot Experience exhibits are being designed with the input of blind and low vision organizations and individuals, accessibility experts, and members of the community. The experience will chronicle APH’s long history in breaking barriers and innovating, will open the doors to greater conversation around the lived experiences of people who are blind and low vision, and be an invitation for visitors to make change in the world.
“The Board of Trustees of APH is honored to support the work of this leading organization and the commitment to inclusiveness as the norm,” said Phoebe A. Wood, Board Chair. “Our goal for the new museum and manufacturing tour is to become a significant visitor destination in Louisville, and also model what it is to be an inclusive museum and to share that with others.”
The museum’s new name pays homage to APH’s history and commitment to braille, a series of six dots that in combination, form letters, numbers, and words, and serve as the code for communication and lifelong literacy for those who cannot see. The Dot Experience brings to life American Printing House stories and more on a world stage.
And, it does so with inclusion, accessibility, and innovation always at the forefront. Museums have traditionally been structured in a way that limits the experience and enjoyment of visitors with disabilities. The Dot Experience is designed with the needs of everyone in mind, and will serve as a national model museum with the most comprehensive levels of universal design and accommodations.
In preparation for this construction, the current APH Museum location will close to the public in early summer, with plans for The Dot Experience grand opening in 2025. The construction project is being led by PLC Management, KNBA Architects, and Bosse Construction.
To follow along with The Dot Experience progress, visit aphmuseum.org/.