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May 28, 2004

The Great Blacks In Wax Museum to offer a Multimedia Sign Language Tour

From: Baltimore Times, MD - May 28, 2004

Baltimore Times
Originally posted 5/28/2004

Program also includes audio tour with audio descriptor stops for people who are visually-impaired

BALTIMORE— The Great Blacks in Wax Museum, in collaboration with Antenna Audio, introduces the Voices of History Tours to their visitors who are visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing, an important advancement in museum access. The Sign Language Guide (SLG) at The Great Blacks in Wax Museum is the first digital American Sign Language tour to be offered in a US museum. The tour for visually-impaired visitors, which provides enhanced visual descriptions of the exhibits, was launched in March of this year. These access programs are complimentary with admission to the museum.

Antenna Audio designed the Sign Language Guide for the Great Blacks in Wax Museum to offer American Sign Language (ASL) users an opportunity to visit the Museum and gain independent access to information in their first or preferred language using the Antenna Multimedia System™. This groundbreaking development in mobile interpretation allows visitors to use a handheld computer or PDA to see video footage of signed interpretation with subtitles or captioning for key terms and phrases.

The Sign Language Guide is presented in ASL by Nathie Marbury, a well-known deaf story-teller, performer and ASL professor at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.

Following the Voices of History audio tour script, the Sign Language tour discusses many of the significant individuals and events depicted at the Museum. The tour also provides visitors with the option of text captioning for the signed video footage, depending on their needs and preference, as well as general information about the Museum.

Antenna Audio designed the Voices of History audio tour to include supplemental visual descriptions of each exhibit to be heard in conjunction with the main interpretive messages. As a result, blind and visually impaired visitors develop a mental picture of the displays and enjoy a more vivid and meaningful Museum experience.

“We are delighted to be working with the Great Blacks in Wax Museum to promote understanding of the African American experience amongst all visitors, including those who are visually-impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing,” said Andrew Nugée, CEO of Antenna Audio Worldwide. “Jointly developed tours for these visitors satisfy both the spirit and the letter of the American Disabilities Act, offering these audiences rare and invaluable independence in the museum setting.”

“Antenna Audio has provided us with an effective mechanism for delivering our compelling and inspirational message to our diverse audience. Our Voices of History tours help deepen the experience for our visitors, and along with the wax figures, help bring history to life at The Great Blacks In Wax Museum,” said Dr Joanne Martin, founder of the museum.

The equipment used for the audio program is Antenna Audio’s X-plorer, an MP3 player specially designed for the unique needs of museums, historic sites and attractions, incorporating superb sound, extreme durability, and ease of use in a small, elegant player.

The Sign Language Guide is played on the Toshiba e800 through the Antenna Media Player™’s unique SLG interface.

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