Braille, a Cemetery & Shakespeare...

When we roll into a new town, we try to hit the Visitors' Center first thing because we always find something unique to do that surprises us. The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) was Louisville's surprise.

Before the Civil War, this Louisville company was formed to provide products for people who are blind. Before airplanes, telephones, the Louisville Slugger® bat, and the Kentucky Derby there was the APH (1858).
Our tour began with a very thorough explanation of the company and its services and then we were guided through the factory, having the processes explained. It was surprisingly interesting.
The large volume, back middle, is one half of a Reader's Digest in braille.
After learning how it is all done, we ventured into the museum to discover its history. What an incredible place covering centuries of advancements for aiding the blind. Artifacts, photos, and electronic displays introduced us to the history of tactile alphabets, the braillewriter, Talking Books, and much more. In addition, APH had a long relationship with Helen Keller. This display houses her Bible whose lettering had been worn down due to frequent reading.
I loved the thought that the blind don't have to miss out on game playing- so cool.
I loved this exhibit on Stevland Morris (Stevie Wonder). Unable to attend a regular Detroit school while becoming a pop sensation, Wonder was sent to the Michigan School for the Blind at Motown's expense. This was the actual piano he played on, while there being just another normal student.
In 1956, they printed the World Book Encyclopedia. It weighs 800 pounds. APH is the world’s largest nonprofit organization creating educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are blind and visually impaired. After spending over two hours here, we were thoroughly impressed.
Our next stop was the arboretum/sculpture garden/cemetery- Cave Hill. Chartered by the General Assembly of Kentucky in 1848 for the purpose of operating a rural cemetery, Cave Hill was dedicated in July of that year and the transition of the existing farm into a beautiful and historic cemetery began.
Truthfully, what brought us here was Colonel Sander's resting place. That catalyst is what allowed us to be blown away by what else was here.
If I was to have a grave marker, I would have the same epitaph, "I had a great time!"



Never have we seen a cemetery adorned as elaborately as this one. In the Victorian period, personal wealth increased, as did family aggrandizement. The garden cemetery became the repository of symbols of success in the form of true monumental art. The landscape gardeners embellished the natural setting with exotic trees and shrubs while the marble sculptors and granite fabricators erected elaborate memorials to individuals and families. Cave Hill has been blessed by a succession of competent and innovative landscape gardeners, and Louisville has been a regional center for monument makers. The result is a rural, garden-style cemetery which has always been considered a model to emulate. And a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.

We ended our last day here in the Old Louisville area, first developed as Louisville's first "suburb", between the 1870s and the early 1900s. It is home to the largest Victorian district in the United States and this amazing park. Interestingly, during the Southern Exposition in 1883, 13 of the park's 17 acres were temporarily "roofed in" and used to showcase Thomas Edison's light bulb, one of the first large-scale public displays of the light bulb in the world.
We came here for the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival's 56 year of performances, the longest running free Shakespeare in the Park in the U.S.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona was an excellent production. While the wording was all the Bard's, the costuming was The Great Gatsby. Modern songs, accompanied by a ukulele, made the performance seem modern and quite refreshing. What a fabulous summer night in Louisville.
This evening pretty much concluded our Southern Sojourn. Tomorrow begins long days of driving hundreds of miles in an effort to get home. It has been unbelievably incredible. We have loved it all.

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1 comments:

For Travel's Sake said...

That wasn't just ONE days worth of activities, was it?! I think the cemetery is beautiful. And the costume is jovial. Very fun. I spent part of Sun with a blind man. He went blind at 30, and is now in his 70s. He says that he cannot fluently read Braille. He has all sorts of interesting phone and computer programs to help him. For example he can take a picture and have the picture discribed to him verbally!

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