Assocation Partners with Strawbery Banke on Interpretive Initiative
Portsmouth, New Hampshire (November 16, 2016) — Strawbery Banke is celebrating being one of six beneficiaries of the Roger R. & Theresa S. Thompson Foundation Fund on two levels. First, the Thompson Fund announced the award of a $20,000 grant to Strawbery Banke for a new Botanical Sciences program to complement the Horticulture Center now, in development.
Second, the Thompson Fund is encouraging partnerships among and between all six beneficiaries. The Strawbery Banke-NH Association for the Blind collaboration is the first. Strawbery Banke is partnering with another of the Thompson Fund beneficiaries, the NH Association for the Blind, on a multi-phase project to interpret the campus for the vision-impaired. Working together on seasonal initiatives the museum and Association held their first joint program November 17th, introducing a group of vision-impaired adults to the architecture program offered by the Education Department. The program, “Architecture: To Build a House” explains how colonials built homes using only hand tools and human power. The hands-on activity turned the group into a construction crew working as a team to assemble a tabletop model of an 18th-century post-and-beam house. They then explored an actual historic house built on the same plan, looking for clues to its construction and the lives of the people who lived there long ago. The tour also provided other examples of especially tactile Strawbery Banke architecture: the rough exterior of Sherburne House, the carved balustrades of the bannister in Chase House and the contrast of Shapley-Drisco. This first partner program was covered by WMUR NH Chronicle.
During the winter, the NH Association for the Blind will incorporate a visit to Labrie Family Skate in conjunctions with the Living Innovation adaptive assistance program at the rink.
In the spring, the program shifts to Strawbery Banke’s gardens as participants assist the Horticulture Department with the planting of annuals and an introduction to the new Botanical Sciences initiative.
“As an employee of the NH Association for the Blind who also happens to be blind, I understand the challenges of enjoying unique experiences and know that people in the Seacoast, who have varying degrees of vision loss would love to experience Strawbery Banke in a tactile-inclusive way, “said Stephanie Hurd, NH Association for the Blind. “We are thrilled that Strawbery Banke has moved so quickly and imaginatively to provide a variety of experiences that are appropriate and fitting for the group, understanding that those with vision loss may have unique questions and requests during their time.”
“In the past few years, Strawbery Banke has worked hard to make the 10-acre museum more accessible through the addition of ramps, participatory activities and partnerships,” said Lawrence J. Yerdon, Strawbery Banke President and CEO. “The collaboration with the NH Association for the Blind enables all of us to see the campus in a different way and helps us appreciate how to create unique hands-on experiences that, in Ms. Hurd’s words, ‘allow for time to truly grasp the fully rich opportunities’ here. The mutual connection with the Thompson Fund meant this initiative came together even more quickly than it might have.”
About Strawbery Banke Museum (www.strawberybanke.org)
Strawbery Banke Museum, in the heart of historic Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is a 10-acre outdoor history museum dedicated to bringing 300+ years of American history to life. The Museum is a place for children, adults, multigenerational families and groups to gather to explore heritage gardens, historic buildings, crafts, preservation programs, hands-on activities, stories told by costumed role-players and the changing exhibits that offer hours of fun and discovery. The Museum’s restored buildings and open space invite visitors to immerse themselves in the past. The Museum welcomes 95,000 visitors, members, schoolchildren and volunteers who love New Hampshire history for daily programs, exhibits, skating and signature special events throughout the year. For a complete calendar of events, please visit www.strawberybanke.org
About New Hampshire Association for the Blind
Headquartered at the McGreal Sight Center in Concord, the New Hampshire the Association for the Blind was founded in 1912, with the mission to advance the independence of persons who are blind and visually impaired. Over the last 105 years, the Association has grown to offer a complete range of specialized professional education and vision rehabilitation services that help babies, children, adults, and elders who have little to no vision to obtain access to a full range of services. The Association is the only private, nonprofit provider of statewide, comprehensive direct vision rehabilitation and educational services throughout the state of New Hampshire for persons of all ages who are blind or visually impaired.
For more information on the New Hampshire Association for the Blind’s programs and services, please call 603-224-4039 or visit www.sightcenter.org.