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NMSU student creates exhibit for the visually impaired

A project that was in the works for more than three years is now an exhibit that not only depicts the arts of the Mogollon culture but provides a display that also can be enjoyed by those who are visually impaired.

New Mexico State University student Amanda Stroud created the museum exhibit "Kipp Ruin," an exhibit designed for the enjoyment of the visually impaired. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Amanda Stroud, a New Mexico State University student studying anthropology, created the University Museum exhibit entitled "Kipp Ruin."

"I came up with the idea for the exhibit while in a museum studies class. A display like this hasn't been done in the University Museum in 40 years," Stroud said.

Stroud studied the Mogollon site eight miles east of Deming called Kipp Ruin. Stroud explained the site, which dates from 1300 to 1450, was the location from which the Kipp Ruin people vanished and includes 20 pueblo rooms where pottery and tools are found.

The exhibit consists of four stations, all of which have brailed text. Each station was designed to provide a hands-on experience for visitors.

The first station includes tactile maps of the Mogollon region studied. The tactile maps are a raised series of lines and graphics used to represent areas of different heights to inform people with visual impairments of the surrounding environment and features.

The second station features tempered clay infused with crushed shell or sand that makes the substance more susceptible to heat. The shells and sand change the texture, making it vary from course to fine.

The third station consists of pottery covered with high-mark, a substance much like puff paint, to create raised designs on the pottery similar to that of the Mogollon designs. It also includes corrugated pottery which has rough ridges. The pottery was put into a dig box of rubber mulch so that visitors could dig for the buried pieces.

The final station has a mano and metate, a flat basin and hand-held stone. Visitors can actually try grinding corn using the mano and metate.

The exhibit, which opened on Feb. 19, and will run until May 10, has attracted a wide variety of visitors.

"It can be enjoyed by the sighted and impaired, young and old. I think everyone just really enjoys the hands-on aspect," Stroud said.