Poster and video presented at the Deaf History International Conference 2022, August 8-13, 2022
Junhui Yang, UCLan - UK, July 2022
Hello, this is a Deaf History International conference’s poster presentation, titled ‘Deaf Museums Project’, presented by 2 people: Liesbeth Pyfers, Netherlands & myself, Junhui Yang, England, UK.
There are 7 partners for this European project, which was funded by Erasmus+ and runs from 2021 to 2023.
This Deaf Museums Project aim is to make everyone aware that we Deaf people have our own history and culture, an important point in relation to European Deaf history exhibitions. We are running this Deaf Museums Project because we want to showcase photographs and recordings that will help people to remember the past and preserve aspects of Deaf culture
…we also aim to make people aware that we Deaf people have a human right to inclusion and to be educated through sign language – which is also important.
The work that we have been doing at the Deaf Museums Project includes:
1. Establishing an online website to provide information through an exhibition of photographs and clips of sign language use
2. Establishing 6 signed Deaf Museum exhibitions across Europe to physically showcase our collections so that people will be able to access the signed materials online or by visiting and looking at them physically. This will help people to learn and to understand, and to remember the past, and to be happy and feel good about it.
3. So how will people learn about this? The museums will collate, analyse and document materials, then exhibit them to share them, and to educate people. By clicking on our online course in the Deaf Museums Project link, people can learn about deaf history through different stages where they will learn all about the online collections as they go through the course.
We, the project team, have been conducting research by asking questions and sending out online surveys to people, and also to mainstream hearing museums and we are already finding that museums are very important as they help people to remember the past. We also know that Deaf People want deaf museums and have been waiting over 125 years for this to happen. A British deaf person, in 1897 wrote about waiting for a sign museum that deaf people want deaf museums and have been waiting over 125 years for this to happen.
A British deaf person, in 1897 wrote about waiting for a sign museum that "This (Deaf) Museum is not intended as a casual show, to be seen once and forgotten”.
We have been waiting for sign museums that keep and exhibit Deaf photographs and arts to preserve them and to educate ignorant people who may think that Deaf culture and Deaf history should be stopped and show them that Deaf communities have beautiful works of art and signed memorabilia that should be preserved for cultural history and show them that Deaf people have the right to grow up as equal citizens in the mainstream hearing society
Mainstream museums are often aware that Deaf people need access to their exhibitions and will organise guided tours in sign language so that Deaf people can visit in groups and learn as they have access to the information, which is good. But we Deaf people also want our own cultural and art history exhibitions that will help us to remember back through history and see how our society has changed so much and so rapidly.
We don’t want to keep seeing our own resources cast aside and we hope to be able to gather them and preserve them. We can exhibit signed artefacts to teach people that Deaf people have a highly valued history too.
The few Deaf Museums that were established and the people that have worked in the Deaf Museums on a voluntary basis, as there is no money to pay wages. Several museums already had to close down.
We want to be able to keep Deaf Museums open by working with mainstream museums in partnership, with hearing curators working alongside Deaf curators, who will be able to select appropriate artefacts to collate and preserve, and to exhibit to showcase and spread awareness. Mainstream museums already know how to preserve and archive resources so we can hopefully work together.
For this Deaf Museums project, the first step is to collaborate and network in order to collect memories, photos, videos, and other artefacts. Then document and exhibit them to spread stories and the message that deaf cultural history should be valued and celebrated.
For more information, please see http://www.deafmuseums.eu.