Trip Planner:   USA  /  Alabama  /  Tuscumbia  /  Helen Keller Birthplace

Helen Keller Birthplace, Tuscumbia

4.8
#2 of 9 in Things to do in Tuscumbia
History Museum · Hidden Gem · Historic Site
Create an itinerary including Helen Keller Birthplace
At a plain, black well-pump in the small southern town of Tuscumbia, Alabama, one of the world's great miracles took place. It began one bright, spring day in 1887. Puffy white clouds floated overhead on a background of blue, while birds fluttered through oaks and maples and flowers burst forth from the fertile soil in an array of colors—all unheard and unseen by a pretty girl of seven.

Standing at the totally blind and deaf Helen Keller's side was a young woman, Anne Sullivan. Miss Sullivan was steadily pumping cool water into one of the girl's hands while repeatedly tapping out an alphabet code of five letters in the other—first slowly, then rapidly. The scene was repeated again and again as young Helen painstakingly struggled to break her world of silence.

Suddenly the signals crossed Helen's consciousness with a meaning. She knew that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the cool something flowing over her hand. Darkness began to melt from her mind like so much ice left out on the sunny March day. By nightfall, Helen had learned 30 words.

Helen Adams Keller was born a healthy child on June 27, 1880, to Captain Arthur H. and Kate Adams Keller of Tuscumbia. At the tender age of 19 months, she was stricken with a severe illness which left her blind and deaf.

At the age of six, the half-wild, deaf and blind girl was taken by her parents to see Dr. Alexander Graham Bell.Helen Keller with Dr. Alexander Graham Bell Because of her visit, Helen was united with her teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan on March 3, 1887. After Helen's miraculous break-through at the simple well-pump, she proved so gifted that she soon learned the fingertip alphabet and shortly afterward to write. By the end of August, in six short months, she knew 625 words.

By age 10, Helen had mastered Braille as well as the manual alphabet and even learned to use the typewriter. By the time she was 16, Helen could speak well enough to go to preparatory school and to college. In 1904 she was graduated "cum laude" from Radcliffe College. The teacher stayed with her through those years, interpreting lectures and class discussions to her.

Helen Keller, the little girl, became one of history's remarkable women. She dedicated her life to improving the conditions of blind and the deaf-blind around the world, lecturing in more than 25 countries on the five major continents. Wherever she appeared, she brought new courage to millions of blind people.

Her teacher, Anne Sullivan is remembered as "the Miracle Worker" for her lifetime dedication, patience and love to a half-wild southern child trapped in a world of darkness.
For travelers who use our custom trip planner, Tuscumbia holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the Helen Keller Birthplace and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
Source
Create a full itinerary - for free!

Helen Keller Birthplace reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
161 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Spend 1-2 hours exploring Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller. Very inspiring story and worth the visit. See "Ivy Green" reviews as well. 
    Spend 1-2 hours exploring Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller. Very inspiring story and worth the visit. See "Ivy Green" reviews as well.  more »
  • The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about the Keller family and did a great job fielding questions. I also really enjoyed the Lions Club exhibit and the beautiful peaceful gardens behind the... 
    The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about the Keller family and did a great job fielding questions. I also really enjoyed the Lions Club exhibit and the beautiful peaceful gardens behind the...  more »
Google
  • I've always loved the story of Helen Keller. They've done a great job at maintaining her home place. It's very beautiful and peaceful. You can tour it at your own pace, but they also have staff on hand to add some commentary to the house and grounds.
  • Such an amazing museum! The tour guides were very knowledgeable and accommodating. I went to the museum with a friend, who's daughter is blind. They were visiting from Indiana and were excited to to see the home of Hellen Keller. The staff allowed my friend's daughter to go beyond the ropes to feel some of the objects in the rooms. They were very kind and made her feel like a VIP! We enjoyed it! It's definitely worth spending an afternoon!

Plan your trip to Tuscumbia

  • Get a personalized trip
    A full day by day itinerary based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place. Everyone on the same page.