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Simulated Picture Gallery with photos of the partners

Earlier this year (2020), a consortium of 7 organisations applied for Erasmus+ funding for a project about Deaf Museums. The project was selected for funding, we started 1 October 2020. www.deafmuseums.eu is the project's website. Already, you can find a lot of information here. Soon, we will add more.
We also have a Facebook Group. If you are interested in our project, please join the Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/deafmuseums

Our Motivation? We think it is important that people work together to preserve the Deaf Heritage, Deaf History. And not only preserve, also: protect, display and share!

Why?  Because it is important for everyone to look back, to look around, to look forward. To remember how things were, before. To learn about important people, important events in the past. Why? Because this helps us understand the present.
It is just as important to preserve and share how things are NOW to help Deaf people, now and in the future, to understand their lives, their culture, their world. History is important. It helps us understand ourselves, our communities, our world.

What will we do? Our team will produce a number of ‘good examples’ to show what we, you, everyone can do to preserve and share the Deaf Heritage. On our website, we will tell you what we did and why, about what was, or was not successful. We will discuss everything with experienced museum professionals. Together, we will use this to produce a basic course in museum skills: a ‘cookbook’ for people who want to help preserve the Deaf Heritage.

What can you do? Please visit our website, join our Facebook group and come back often. Become inspired by our project, replicate our good examples, produce new good examples yourselves. Find people to start your own “Deaf Museum”, big, small or tiny, real or on the internet. And share your experiences, with us, with the world!

Let’s protect and share the Deaf Heritage, Deaf History together!

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1 October 2020

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  • "It was only during the past decade that recognition of the importance of preserving Deaf history has emerged. In the main, Deaf heritage, culture and folklore has been passed down from generation to generation via the medium of sign language and fingerspelling. (..) It is also vital that the history of Deaf people is made available to future generations, especially Deaf schoolchildren as part of their history lessons."

    A. Murray Holmes,  in: Cruel Legacy, an introduction of Deaf people in history, by A.F. Dimmock, 1993

  • "As recently as the 1970s, deaf history did not exist. There were available sketches of various hearing men, primarily teachers, who were credited with bringing knowledge and enlightenment to generations of deaf children, but deaf adults were absent."

    In: Preface to: "Deaf History Unvailed, Interpretations from the New Scholarship". John Vickrey van Cleve, editor
    Publisher: Gallaudet University Press, 1993

  • "Deaf people have always had a sense of their history as it was being passed down in stories told by generations of students walking in the hallways of their residential schools and by others who congregated in their clubs, ran associations, attended religious services, and played in sporting events.

    With these activities, the deaf community exhibited hallmarks of agency — an effort to maintain their social, cultural, and political autonomy amid intense pressure to conform as hearing, speaking people."

    BRIAN H. GREENWALD AND JOSEPH J. MURRAY, in: Sign Language Studies, Volume 17, Number 1, Fall 2016

  • “One story makes you weak. But as soon as we have one-hundred stories, you will be strong.”

    Chris Cleave in "Little Bee", 2008

  • "The Deaf community is international. What binds Deaf people, despite their different national sign languages, is their shared visual communication, history, cultural activities, and the need for a Deaf “space” where people come together."

    from: The Cultural Model of Deafness

  • "Until the fall semester of 1986, the history department at Gallaudet University had never before offered a course in the history of deaf people.

    In the 122 years, to that point, since the founding of the university, which was specifically intended for the education of deaf peoples, no one had ever taught a course about this very group of people.

    In all of those years the history department had offered courses on a wide range of topics but never deaf history. "

    ENNIS, WILLIAM T., et al. “A Conversation: Looking Back on 25 Years of A Place of Their Own.” Sign Language Studies, vol. 17, no. 1, 2016, pp. 26–41. 

  • "Histories have for too long emphasized the controversies over communication methods and the accomplishments of hearing people in the education of deaf students. with inadequate attention paid to those deaf individuals who created communication bridges and distinguished themselves as change agents in their respective field of endeavour."

    from: Harry G. Lang, Bonny Meath-Lang: Deaf Persons in the Arts and Sciences, 1995

  • "Access to and participation in culture is a basic human right. Everyone has a right to representation and agency in museums, and communities should have the power to decide how they engage."

    Source: A manifesto for museum learning and engagement


  • "The UN Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community”. This is based on the principle that citizens are not just consumers of cultural capital created by others; we have agency and the right to contribute through culture to the wider good of society."

    Source: A manifesto for museum learning and engagement

  • "The most significant function of museums is as centres for cultural democracy, where children and adults learn through practical experience that we all have cultural rights. Having the opportunity to create, and to give to others, may be one of our greatest sources of fulfilment. Culture is everywhere and is created by everyone."

    Source: A manifesto for museum learning and engagement

  • " Museums can increase our sense of wellbeing, help us feel proud of where we have come from, and inspire, challenge and stimulate us."

    Source: https://www.museumsassociation.org/campaigns/museums-change-lives/

  • "Museums can increase our sense of wellbeing, help us feel proud of where we have come from, and inspire, challenge and stimulate us."

    Source: Museums Change Lives

  • "For many members of the Deaf community their shared history is both personal and social. Deaf people will have gone to the same school, in many cases boarding schools where most of their younger lives will have been spent together, and then met again at their Deaf clubs, Deaf social events, reunions and other more personal events.

    One of the first things a Deaf person will often ask on meeting, before asking your name, is what school or Deaf club you go to. Making this connection is an important part of any greeting, as it will then help an individual to understand what shared history or people in common you may have."

    from: The Cultural Model of Deafness

  • “If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are,
    and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going.
    And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.”

    Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight

  • the past can hurt

    From: Walt Disney, The Lion King

  • "An important matter for any minority group is that written documents in public archives are often drawn up by the majority group and do not always reflect a minority as it sees itself. Thus, preserving sign language narration is of the utmost importance and a challenge to those working in the field of Deaf history."

    In: TIINA NAUKKARINEN, Finnish Museum of the Deaf: Presenting the Life of Carl Oscar Malm (1826–1863)

  • " The museum ( the Finnish Museum of the Deaf) was founded by deaf people, and, thus, its task has been to strengthen their identity and historical communality.
    Most of our materials have a connection to the key experiences that generations of deaf people have shared. These are important in understanding the past and keeping the collective memory alive."
    TIINA NAUKKARINEN, Finnish Museum of the Deaf: Presenting the Life of Carl Oscar Malm (1826–1863)

  • "Beyond works of art and objects, museums collect shared heritage, memories and living cultures as well as what we call intangible collectables."

    Source: We are Museums