Vision and Hearing Impaired Access for A History of the World in 100 Objects

media release

Monday 10 October, 2016

Vision and Hearing Impaired Access for A History of the World in 100 Objects

National Museum Offers Suite of Disability Access Features for the First Time

For the first time in a major exhibition, the National Museum of Australia is offering a suite of special features for blind, vision and hearing-impaired visitors to the “A History of the World in 100 Objects” exhibition from the British Museum.

Specially commissioned audio tours, with Auslan (Australian Sign Language) / Conexu video, braille label text and a Touch Table have been developed by the National Museum to help blind, vision and hearing-impaired visitors get the most out of A History of the World in 100 Objects.

In its only east coast venue, A History of the World in 100 Objects uses items from around the globe to explore the last two million years of human history, sourcing the oldest objects from the British Museum’s collection and incorporating those from the present day.

From stone to gold, clay to plastic, the exhibition traces human experience through objects people have made, including a 1.6 metre tall Assyrian relief, the famous Assyrian clay Flood Tablet (from modern Iraq) inscribed with the story of a great flood and an Ark; and a small, but exquisite, gold llama from Peru.

National Museum director Dr Mathew Trinca said he was committed to greater disability access at the cultural institution.

“The National Museum is keen to ensure that blind, vision and hearing-impaired visitors can enjoy exhibitions like A History of the World in 100 Objects, alongside other Australians,” said Dr Trinca.

National Museum Diversity and Wellbeing Support Officer (who is himself vision-impaired), Scott Grimley, said, “As technology makes it easier for people with a disability to access the world around them, the Museum is showing a commitment to include everyone in the exhibitions it provides.”

The National Museum is offering two audio tours, which are linked to Apps that can be downloaded on IPhones and Android devices.
Once downloaded, these Apps offer an Auslan video tour and audio descriptions of 19 objects featured in A History of the World in 100 Objects.

The 19 objects have Braille and large print identification numbers that can be accessed by blind, vision and hearing impaired visitors and then typed into the handheld devices, to trigger the audio or video tours.

Replica objects, including the Flood Tablet, several different Lewis Chessmen, the Astrolabe and the bust of Sophocles, that duplicate the sensory experience of touching the original objects in the exhibition, are available on a Touch Table.
Free general entry | Open 9 am —- 5 pm daily (closed Christmas Day) | Acton Peninsula Canberra | Freecall 1800 026 132
Donations (tax deductible) are welcome, visit

The National Museum of Australia is an Australian Government Agency For more information please contact Tracy Sutherland, (02) 6208 5338 / 0438 620 710 or

Demonstration of a DOS Screen Reader

This is a blast from the past for screen reader users. Demonstration of a DOS screen reader.

This is how screen readers used to be.

The demonstration is in two parts. Part one can be found here: DOS Screen Reader Part 1

and part two can be found here: DOS Screen Reader Part 2

The players are put through their paces – Blind Football in Australia

Last weekend’s (7 August 2016) blind football workshop in Melbourne, Australia, was a resounding success by all accounts.

David Connolly from Social Goal reports on the event…

The Future is Bright for the Beautiful Game With the Paralympics almost upon us, an exciting event was held at the Knox Regional Football Centre in Melbourne on Sunday 7 August – the Melbourne B1 blind football workshop.

This workshop is the biggest step forward for B1 blind football in Australia so far. The workshop was facilitated by IBSA Football Chairman Ulrich Pfisterer and provided an interactive workshop for potential players, coaches and volunteers to learn more about the game.

David Connolly, Co-founder of Social Goal, described the day, “It was great to welcome Uli back to Melbourne to run this session and fantastic to see so much enthusiasm from the players and coaches involved. Uli really put everyone through their paces, and everyone really grabbed the opportunity with both hands, soaking up as much information as they could.”

Those interested in being part of the first ever Melbourne B1 blind football development squad were invited to attend the workshop and were presented with Melbourne City Football Club playing uniforms before taking part in the session. “The Melbourne City Football Club uniforms really set the scene for a professional football session. City in the Community, Melbourne City Football Club’s community arm, is a key partner in the development of blind football opportunities here in Melbourne and we really appreciate their continued support,” said David.

The players and coaches were impressed by Ulrich’s professional approach. Player Prasantha Wijeyasiri said, “learning the correct technique and gaining a better understanding of the game today has inspired me to go away and do some work on my own so that I can improve my skills and confidence in blind football. I can’t wait to play an official game.”

The future looks bright for this truly beautiful format of the world game, with Blind Sports NSW attending the workshop and an upcoming launch of blind football in New Zealand, partnerships and connections in the region are growing.

David explained, “This was an exciting chapter in our blind football journey. We have a better understanding of B1 blind football and we now put the call out to players, coaches, and potential sponsors and partners, to get on board as we look to grow the game here in Melbourne and Victoria. We hope this workshop can be the catalyst for other States to get involved, create a team, and all work together so that competitive games can be played here in Australia and the region, kicking goals to make football accessible for all.”

The workshop was coordinated by Social Goal, with the support of local partners Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria, Football Federation Victoria, Melbourne City Football Club and Blind Sports Australia.

Pfisterer now heads to New Zealand for the official launch of blind football in the country in partnership with Blind Sport New Zealand.

For more information go to:


Source: Australian Blindness Forum

On 30 June 2016, the World Blind Union announced that Canada became the 20th country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for People who are Blind, Visually Impaired or otherwise Print Disabled. This is an historic achievement after many years of campaigning in the blindness sector worldwide to put an end to the global ‘book famine’.

The global book famine refers to the less than ten percent of published materials being available in accessible formats and often less than one percent in developing countries.

The Marrakesh Treaty will come into force on 30 September 2016 and means the twenty ratifying countries will be able to enjoy the benefits enshrined in the treaty that are meant to extend the same access to literature and information for print disabled persons that non-print disabled persons already enjoy.

Millions of blind and partially sighted people will be able to access literature and educational materials, enabling them to better participate in their society.

ABF, Australia’s representative to the World Blind Union, congratulates the Australian Government on being one of the 20 countries to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty. ABF is now urging the Australian Government to pass the current amendments to the Copyright Act 1968 that are ready and waiting to be introduced into Parliament.

These proposed amendments were intended to underpin the Marrakesh Treaty in Australia ensuring the provisions for the production and cross-border sharing of accessible works would be easily accessible to all Australians. It is crucial that these amendments are passed in order to achieve the treaty’s overarching goal of furthering the human rights of persons with print disabilities by promoting their access to literature and information.

“The 20th ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty is a great achievement but we still have work to do”, said Tony Starkey, ABF Chair. “In Australia, it is vital that the proposed amendments to the Copyright Act are passed by Parliament as soon as possible. This will ensure all Australians who are blind or vision impaired can maximise the benefits of the treaty, ending the book famine in this country.”

ABF is also calling on all countries to ratify the treaty, particularly the United States of America and the United Kingdom, who hold the majority of English language content across the world.

ABF is seeking any support from the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to encourage the USA and UK ratify the treaty.

For further information about the Marrakesh Treaty please visit the World Blind Union website:

Tony Starkey
Australian Blindness Forum
0408 666 170
ABN 47 125 036 857
PO Box 1188
Canberra ACT 2601

Guide Dogs WA: “ROAM Trial Presentation”

The Rural and Remote Orientation and Mobility (ROAM) project, developed by VisAbility, provides real-time monitoring and delivery of Orientation and Mobility training and instruction via videoconferencing.

The service delivery involves using a smartphone (iPhone 6 Plus) attached to a Go-Pro chest harness worn by the individual. Live video streaming to a remote Orientation and Mobility Instructor provides instruction to the individual via headphones.

Check out the latest video here: ROAM Youtube Clip