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How a high school senior is making sure deaf community can enjoy local museums

Posted at 4:30 AM, Apr 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-16 06:51:19-04

CINCINNATI -- When Oak Hills High School senior Jordan Asman noticed something missing from museums throughout the Tri-State, she dedicated seven months to making sure one -- the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center -- filled the blank space.

"When museums give guided tours, the deaf community can't exactly go on them unless they have an interpreter with them," she explained.

Interpretation services often come at an extra cost; Asman's app, in which pre-recorded videos provide a guided tour in American Sign Language, is free. 

Just like hearing visitors might choose to use pre-recorded audio guides to enhance their experience of Freedom Center exhibits, deaf visitors can use the app to supplement their own tour with more information about its contents and mission.

"It's really comprehensive," said Elizabeth Kroger, who is learning American Sign Language at Sinclair College. "It gives a lot more information that I'd get if I was just walking around."

Asman said she reached out to many area museums with her idea, and the Freedom Center -- which, after all, counts inclusivity as a core part of its mission -- was the first one to respond with an enthusiastic yes.

"(We wanted to) enhance visitors' experience, especially when it's a community that's so underserved and sometimes and as overlooked as the deaf community," Freedom Center researcher Katie Bramell said. "It helps connect the visitor a little bit better to what we're talking about."