GR Public Museum debuts new app for low vision visitors

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There’s a new app being used at the Grand Rapids Public Museum that makes it more accessible to people who are blind or have low vision. 

Before the Aira app was available, blind and low vision visitors had a hard time going through exhibits. They say it’s a big achievement for their community that they’ve been waiting for for a long time.

“If I were just to go with a sighted person and go through that same streets museum, they would’ve described stuff in a minimal way, maybe what they were interested in and not necessarily greatest detail on what was around,” said Casey Dutmer, the president of Visually Impaired Persons for Progress.

Dutmer says with the help from the Aira app, he’s able to get around more independently. Aira stands for ‘artificial intelligence remote assistance.’

The app guides visitors through the museum using voice assistance to tell them where to go.

Alee’a Cherry, the marketing manager for the museum, says it’s important that everyone feels welcome.

“We have found that we want to make sure that everyone has an accessible and inclusive experience here at the museum, so through this partnership we are able to do that,” said Cherry.

Dutmer hopes that more people from the visually impaired community come out and see what the app has to offer.

“If you never wanted to go to the museum because you thought you would be bored, try the app out, it’s free to access, and I know you’ll enjoy the tour,” said Dutmer.

The Aira app is free and available for both Apple and Android phones. You can download it online

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