Banner design for the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf exhibit

The National Fraternal Society of the Deaf is a unique institution in American history. Founded in 1901, it continued for over 100 years as one of the strongest Deaf-run businesses ever established.

Taking its name from the NFSD slogan, the Gallaudet University Museum exhibition “We Are Equal” examines ways in which Deaf Americans positioned themselves on an equal playing field to hearing Americans, and also how equality within the Deaf community paralleled struggles for equality in the broader American society.

This exhibition represents the first time the Gallaudet University Museum has partnered with an outside organization for content review. The Frank B. Sullivan Memorial Foundation provided sponsorship for the exhibition, and its board, made up of many former NFSD members, worked with Museum staff to verify the organization’s history, and were a great support to our team.

The exhibition also highlights the legacy of NFSD by focusing on Deaf entrepreneurs, and how their innovation has helped foster a more robust Deaf community.