Two years ago, Micki McCabe began printing 3D items at the Westport Library. They accompanied Braille books she — the director of Connecticut Braille Association, based around the corner in the Westport Woman’s Club Imperial Avenue building — had produced.
At the library she met Bradley Snow, and his mother. Bradley — a visually impaired 6th grader at Coleytown Middle School — told Micki of his love for dinosaurs. He’d already created a dinosaur book for Coleytown Elementary School, and learned about 3D printing at the library.
Micki — an educator herself, whose organization helps students pursue special interests outside of the classroom — suggested a dinosaur project. Bradley began keeping a dinosaur journal. She also gave him a book: “Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs!” by Connecticut author Kathleen Kudlinski.
Kudlinski encouraged a visit to the Peabody Museum in New Haven. Armand Morgan — senior instructor of education — gave Bradley a tour of the paleontology department. It was a thrilling day for the young dinosaur-lover.
The next day, Morgan came to Westport. He met Bradley and Micki at the library’s MakerSpace. He brought a real dinosaur bone — and helped Bradley make a 3D replica of it.
Bradley already knew all the particulars of the bone, along with the dinosaur’s name, and where it was found.
Micki calls the library visit “fun and magical.” Mike Altis gave the small group his undivided attention. When other visitors realized that an actual dinosaur bone was being scanned in their library, they gathered around to watch.
After it was over, Bradley had a question: Could he volunteer at Connecticut Braille? He loves to help people.
Soon, he’ll be putting together Braille books.
From the Triassic Era to now, and from Coleytown to Yale: Life is all about making connections.
(The project was made possible by a grant to Connecticut Braille Association, from the Norma F. Pfriem Association.)