Throwback Thursday: Commemorative Medal

Our object this week is a new acquisition, donated byMireille Duhen. Ms. Duhen works at the Association Valentin Haüy inParis, and is constantly reminding me how many innovations in education for theblind had their roots in France. It is a commemorative medal, castin bronze, remembering Dr. Valentin Haüy(1745-1822). It features his face in profile on the right, with his hairneatly pulled back into a pigtail tied with a bow and his sideburnscurled. Dr. Haüy founded the first school for blind students in the worldin Paris, France in 1784, the InstitutRoyale des Jeunes Aveugles . He also invented the tactile book. By the time the medal was made, the name had been changed to Institut National,reflecting the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution Thismedal, sculpted by Fredericde Vernon, was completed in 1887. A rectangle left blank on the backof the medal allowed it to be used for various awards, in this instance thePrix Wilkins de Varney. The award was established at the school in 1857for good character by a female student, and was awarded based upon a vote bystudents and teachers. There are examples of different medals being used forthe award on the web over the years. We don’t know who Clotilde Lisertawas, but it does personalize the medal a lot for me to imagine her proudlyclutching it and surrounded by her admiring friends after receiving it in 1895.

Stan Greenwood
A humble human, who is always found working on something or drinking coffee. A perfect introvert who talks barely anything but shares a lot through his blog posts at FredForum.

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