An installation of tactile models designed by MAD Lab at the Fremont Indian State Park in Utah

Park Yourself in Front of a LightHouse Media and Accessible Design Lab Display

LightHouse’s Media and Accessible Design Laboratory (MAD Lab) is a one-of-a-kind department that specializes in making visual information accessible to the blind. They aren’t just a team of braille transcribers, but a team of creative and highly skilled tactile designers. They can convey visual directional information into tactile maps accessible for those who are blind or have low vision, they can recreate famous works of art into touchable masterpieces, and, of course, they can turn any bit of literary information into braille or audio files so that no individual who is blind or has low vision goes without the same access to information as sighted people. That is what MAD Lab does—they bridge the gap between the blind and sighted communities.
 
In the past several years, MAD Lab has become known for their tactile mapping abilities and in-house designed and produced accessible tactile graphics. They’ve taken on projects big and small, with enormous clients of the famous cartoon mouse and iconic fruit variety, to smaller local projects for neighborhood businesses. Every new project is a challenge and an opportunity to grow and perfect their art because it truly is art, of accessibility equality and inclusion.
 
They have recently been creating accessible trail booklets, informational guides, topographical outdoor exhibits, and accessible signage for parks.
 
At the Fremont Indian State Park, MAD Lab collaborated with park services sign makers and personnel to create a topical map and tactile informational outdoor exhibition plaques that provide tactile graphics of the sign’s visual images and mapping, and braille transcription of the sign’s text. Not only is the exhibition completely accessible to those who are blind or have low vision, but the sign is also created to withstand the wear and tear of the elements.
 
A close-up of one of the tactile models After the installation of the MAD Lab’s tactile creation at Fremont Indian State Park, visitors from all over gushed over the new accessible addition to the beautiful park.  Facebook friend of Fremont Indian State Park, Christine C., posted to the park’s Facebook page, “My son has a vision impairment and he really appreciated this sign!” Another friend of the park, Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Dawn K., raved “As a teacher of the blind I was thrilled to see this when I visited the park this summer. Thank you!”
 
Community members and park guests weren’t the only ones to acknowledge and appreciate the addition of the accessible sign. The Fremont Indian State Park display was awarded first place in the Outdoor Exhibit category of the 2020 NAI Interpretive Media Competition for the collaborative work between MAD Lab and Fremont Indian Park representatives. The competition promotes excellence in the creation and production of natural, cultural, and historical nonpersonal interpretive services and annually draws in hundreds of prestigious designers, artists, and sculptors nationwide. MAD Lab is honored to see the recognition of their hard work and accessible design creations.
 
The recognition of MAD Lab’s unparalleled abilities to create and produce accessible tactile art and information has fueled the fire of passion in the department’s drive. You can see some of MAD Lab’s fantastic work installations and tactile maps and informational guides when you visit Fort Mason and Marin Headlands in the San Francisco Bay Area.
 
Learn more about MAD Lab’s tactile images, maps, and touch Installations. If you oversee a park, cultural institution or public space and would like to provide access to all of its visitors, please contact madlab@lighthouse-sf.org for a consultation and price quote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *