Groundbreaking exhibition charts "History Through Deaf Eyes".

Position:Hearing Loss

"History Through Deaf Eyes" aligns nearly 200 years of American history with the experiences of deaf people. Using objects and images collected by individuals, organizations, and schools for deaf children, this exhibition illustrates the shared experiences of family life, education, and work--as well as the divergent ways deaf people see themselves, communicate, employ and adapt technology, and determine their own futures.

"Deaf Eyes," which will be on view at the Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library (March 3-April 17) before taking up permanent residence at Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C., enjoyed a successful showing at The Smithsonian Institution and is the subject of an upcoming documentary on PBS. The exhibition is divided into several sections:

Community Formation. Beginning in the early 1800s, social and economic conditions and a religious determination that deaf individuals should not be excluded from teaching led to the founding of schools for deaf students. As these individuals gathered together, they developed an important set of shared experiences.

Language and Identity. While the schools fostered a language that grew out of the communal interaction of individuals who communicated via sign and sight, the general society emphasized the importance of voice and hearing, resulting in a tension between some deaf individuals and the hearing world as well as within the deaf community itself.

Community Building. Lifetime friendships forged in the residential schools led to communities of educated...

To continue reading