When the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum recently recognized that they needed improvements for increased accessibility for visitors who are blind, visually impaired or hearing impaired, the Hall of Fame approached the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and the Erma A. Bantz Foundation for project funding support. With the advice of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the Bantz Foundation agreed to assist the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum to make its facility more accessible for visitors with visual and hearing impairments.
Driven by a mission to celebrate greatness, preserve history and provide inspiration, the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum at Great American Ball Park is the place where the story of Reds baseball comes alive each day. Established in 1958, the Reds Hall of Fame is the oldest continually operating team Hall of Fame in all of baseball. Since its inception, 81 players, managers and executives have been honored with induction. The museum features 15,000 square feet of historical, interactive and educational exhibits, highlighting the rich and storied tradition of the Reds for fans of all ages.
In order to provide advice to the Hall of Fame and Museum, the Erma A. Bantz Foundation requested assistance from the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI). CABVI was asked to provide the expertise, advice, and recommendations for accessibility improvements. Through this collaborative effort, the Erma A. Bantz Foundation provided a grant in the amount of $20,991 to improve Reds Hall of Fame accessibility for people with severe vision or hearing loss. Grant funding from the Bantz Foundation will be used to purchase assistive listening devices, tactile graphic elements, large print museum maps, and captions for all video content that is displayed throughout the Hall of Fame.
“We thank the Erma A. Bantz Foundation and CABVI for recognizing the importance of this project at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum,” said Hall of Fame executive director Rick Walls. “We look forward to installing these essential elements within the museum to enhance the visitor experience for those who are blind, visually impaired or hearing impaired.”
CABVI requested the involvement of The Hearing Speech & Deaf Center of Greater Cincinnati to assist with developing recommendations. The Hearing Speech and Deaf Center provided very helpful advice to CABVI and the Hall of Fame and Museum.
CABVI is always seeking new ways to improve its service to the community and current demographic estimates indicate that approximately 42,000 people in the Greater Cincinnati region are blind or visually impaired. CABVI is continually striving to fulfill its mission of “Offering blind and visually impaired people the opportunity to seek independence.” Since 1911, CABVI has been providing employment, high quality rehabilitation, information and social services to an ever-increasing number of persons who are blind or visually impaired.
According to John Mitchell, executive director at CABVI, “Blindness and hearing impairments are actually increasing due to the number of people with age-related eye conditions and hearing loss as well as the number of premature babies that have vision and hearing issues. CABVI was pleased to be able to step up to the plate to suggest ways to make it easier for all people to enjoy the Reds Hall of Fame.”