Opening up the gift of intellectual communication to sight-impaired people everywhere, 19th-century French musician/educator Louis Braille, blinded in a childhood accident, was only a teenager when he created the form of tactile code that would bear his name and form his legacy. His progressive parents sent him to college, where he became frustrated with the era’s books for the blind, which involved raised letters so large no volume could contain large amounts of information.
Braille’s own system of six raised dots, inspired by a type of nighttime code, changed the game forever. It’s been refined throughout the years, but the premise is the same — and World Braille Day on January 4 (the inventor’s birthday) is observed on every continent.
Locally, Hands On! children’s gallery in downtown Hendersonville will hold a four-day event in Braille’s honor, opening at 1pm on Tuesday, January 5, and continuing regular museum hours through Friday, January 8. Because most everyone is a beginner when it comes to braille, it’s an all-ages event: adults and kids alike will learn how to write their names in Braille code, and how to read some basic text. Not a bad eureka moment for the new year.
318 N. Main St. $5. 828-697-8333. www.handsonwnc.org.