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Grants connect American Sign Museum with new audiences

Posted at 2:25 PM, Sep 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-04 21:36:38-04

CINCINNATI — The American Sign Museum is trying to make its exhibits more accessible with new grant funding.

The museum, which focuses on educating the public about historical signs and preservation, hopes to connect with new audiences thanks to some grants from the Ohio Arts Council and Ohio Humanities Council.

In total, the museum received about $7,500 to help fund more educational outreach and accessibility-based programs. The museum just launched three new self-guided audio tours in Arabic, Nepali and Spanish, which the museum said are the most prominent foreign languages in the Tri-Sate. They also recently partnered with the Cincinnati Library to offer a free visit to guests with a free library pass.

The idea came as the museum closed for several months in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“Well, museums have really played an important role during COVID,” said Cindy Kearns, American Sign Museum director of operations. “They all went virtual for the most part during COVID, and I think in many ways they're the unsung heroes just because they did step in and do a lot of online programming for schools, families, for people who are isolated.”

Kearns said the museum is also working with a local organization to develop a plan to improve the experience for those who are blind and visually impaired.