Museum offers hands-on experience for blind students

October 3, 2013 | Leave a Comment

Museum offers hands-on experience for blind students

BUIES CREEK — For the first time since it opened in October 2001, the Lundy-Fetterman Museum dropped its ropes and allowed guests to touch and feel the pronghorn antelope, goitered gazelle, Persian ibex and blue marlin on display.

For many of those guests, Wednesday was the first time they experienced the enormity of a hippopotamus … the first time they felt a bear not named Teddy. For the dozen students of the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, the trip to Buies Creek allowed for a better understanding of Earth’s wildlife beyond the descriptions from those with sight or from science books.

“This adds a whole new dimension to their learning,” said Rod Poole, the Morehead School’s orientation and abilities specialist who was among a handful of staff and volunteers who accompanied the children, ages 12-13, on Wednesday. “If they don’t have this extra concept development, they’re missing out on so much when it comes to learning about nature and science. This opportunity is priceless … something you can’t get just anywhere.”

The museum, which also houses historical books and photos of Campbell University’s 126-year history, features a collection of 175 animals gathered by Burrows T. and Mabel L. Lundy, who were avid hunters and self-proclaimed conservationists. The Lundys, founders of Lundy Packing Company in Clinton, donated their exhibit to Campbell and the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business in 2001.

Museum curator Dorothea Stewart Gilbert said Poole approached her back in July about bringing his students, and she agreed to allow the up-close contact with the animals — strictly forbidden for guests — if the school agreed to simply bring its own gloves.

“We’ve never done this before,” Gilbert said, smiling as she watched a young man feel the teeth of the small black bear on display. “But I’m glad we’re doing it today. I think this is certainly something we’d love to do again.”

Eric Sanchez, 13, is one of the school’s students who has limited sight, so he also experienced the encased polar bear and leopard on display. The leopard was his favorite, but he also enjoyed the lion and zebra rugs.

“It’s cool to feel them and get up close,” he said. “I was surprised at how rough the zebra’s fur was … I had no idea.”

The Lundy Fetterman Museum is open to the public Mondays and Wednesdays on the first floor of the business school. To learn more, visit campbell.edu/business/about/museum-exhibit-hall or call (910) 814-4398.

Story and photo by Billy Liggett

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