Monthly Archives: September 2015

National Braille Press

We had a fascinating group tour of the National Braille Press today with some homeschooling friends.

After an introduction to the history and concepts of Braille, we were taken through the different steps of producing Braille books. We talked with a transcriptionist, the proofreaders, an embosser, and a collator. We saw how language goes from spoken/written to printed Braille to embossed Braille, all in one building.

The tour was very interesting, and I think the girls picked up some bits and pieces, but it wasn’t until lunch afterward that I got them chatting about what we’d seen. They were curious about being blind and having a job. They hadn’t realized until later reflection that some of the staff we had met were blind. Esme remembered the service dog she had seen and they were suddenly full of questions.

There we were, sitting at the restaurant, looking out at Huntington Ave and the Northeastern T stop and discussing how the visually impaired make their way through the world- their concerns were street crossing, especially. Catherine remembered that some of our street crossing lights in Salem will beep or talk to the pedestrians. Right on cue, I pulled up the walking directions that the NBP have up on their website:

By Subway
Take the “E” train on the Green Line outbound to the Northeastern University stop on Huntington Ave. When you exit the train, turn right. Walk along Huntington until you reach a down-slope and an opening on the left. At that opening, cross over Huntington Ave and turn right. Walk about ten steps and cross over Opera Place (it will be right in front of you). Take a left on Opera Place, pass an alleyway on your right, and continue until you reach the end of the block. Turn right onto St. Stephen Street. Our building is halfway down the block on your right. You’ll walk over two grates and the sidewalk slopes slightly to the left, just before you reach a set of stairs leading up to our front door.

We were so much more observant about our walk back to the subway than we had been on our walk in. Every street crossing and curb cut was so much more interesting. We noticed Braille on the emergency call box in the subway station and finally understood why the warning strip by the train tracks has huge bumps on it.

The book making process was really interesting, but I am so appreciative about how it launched us into bigger discussions about how we, and especially others, see and experience the world.

Frozen Knitwear

If it is September in Salem it must be costuming time!

The first piece of Esme’s costume is done, but there’s still plenty to do before the Halloween festivities kick off here this Thursday. My costume loving girls look forward to this each year!

With New Eyes

The girls have interacted with this exhibit many times over the last few years. This may have been the first time they used it in the way that the designers had intended it!

One thing I love about our museum membership is that we have the opportunity to come back to the same exhibits over and over and see them with new eyes. The fact that they have their own ideas about using them and the interesting ways those ideas change is just as wonderful to me as when they follow the intended instructions. All interactions are learning and all learning is awesome!


Tomorrow we’ll say good bye to our trusty old steed, Penelope. There are many mixed feelings among the four of us tonight, but none of us can deny the eight-plus long years of wonderful adventures we’ve had in her.