To enhance the future of the deaf community, we must preserve its past. The National Deaf Life Museum serves as a beacon of progress and hope for deaf culture.

Founded by the late Jane Norman, Ph.D., a treasured Gallaudet University colleague, the museum serves to:

  • Create public programming that reaches our campus, surrounding neighborhoods, diverse Washington, D.C. constituencies, as well as national and international audiences.
  • Advocate for the open exchange of ideas about what it means to be deaf vs hearing with the local, national, and international communities.
  • Provide national leadership in the presentation of deaf history and contemporary life of the deaf community.
  • Host historical, linguistic, and cultural scholarship that serves the University and its visitors as a resource on deaf life and artistic expression.

Plan Your Visit!


The National Deaf Life Museum offers credit-earning internships to students in a variety of majors. Have your academic advisor contact Museum staff for more information.


Volunteer opportunities are available for students, alumni, and interested community members. Contact museum staff for more information about training as a docent and scheduling volunteer hours.

Class Visits

Students are always welcome in the museum, and we offer educational opportunities for professors who wish to bring their class as a group to learn about Gallaudet history and other programs the museum offers.

Classroom Lectures

Instructors wishing to have a guest speaker on the subjects of museum studies, exhibition design and writing, Gallaudet history, Deaf culture, and related topics are welcome to contact museum staff.

While we have developed plans for future exhibitions, the committee is always interested in suggestions. To impart your vision for an exhibition or new ways of reaching communities, please


Be a Friend of the Museum

You can make a donation by writing a check or making a secure online donation. All donation proceeds go to the Gallaudet Museum Donations Fund. You can help by making a gift, either individually or through an alumni class. Gerald "Bummy" Burstein, Class of 1950,...


Andrew J. Foster Exhibit

Andrew Jackson Foster was the first Black Deaf student to graduate from Gallaudet University after the Jim Crow era. Although he was allowed to enroll, the campus atmosphere was no less racist than the world outside it, and Foster's experiences with bullying spurred him to...

Deaf HERstory Exhibit

The Deaf HERstory exhibition by the National Deaf Life Museum was located at the Museum Annex - Weyerhaeuser Family Gallery area at the lower level at the Student Academic Center from the summer of 2015 until March 3, 2017. The exhibition was replaced by the...

Deaf Peace Corps Exhibit

The National Deaf Life Museum opened Making a Difference: Deaf Peace Corps Volunteers in the Weyerhaeuser Family Gallery and Exhibition Hall of the I. King Jordan Student Academic Center on Tuesday, October 25, 2010. Deaf Returned Peace Corps Volunteers with Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams....

Gallaudet at 150 and Beyond Exhibit

The National Deaf Life Museum at Gallaudet University (formerly Gallaudet University Museum) opened its first permanent exhibition, Gallaudet at 150 and Beyond, on April 8, 2014, during the 150th Anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's signing of the charter that established what would become Gallaudet University....

History Through Deaf Eyes

Gallaudet University created the "Deaf Eyes" project to bring deaf history to the public and expand understanding of U.S. history. The project is multi-faceted and includes the: Exhibition - History Through Deaf Eyes Documentary Film - Through Deaf Eyes Book - Through Deaf Eyes: A...

Language, Culture, Communities

This exhibit was on loan from the American School for the Deaf and the Connecticut Historical Society from January 29 to April 6, 2018, in the Linda K. Jordan Gallery at the Washburn Art Building. It was accessible in ASL, Spanish, and Braille. View our photo...

Left Behind: HIV/AIDS and the Deaf Community

This exhibition recounts the history of the HIV/AIDS crisis as it was experienced by the Deaf community.

Olof Hanson Exhibit

The National Deaf Life Museum's first exhibition, Olof Hanson, Conspicuous Leader (1862-1933), opened on October 22, 2009, and closed on October 1, 2011. The exhibition is now available online. The exhibit focused on the life of the deaf architect, advocate, and clergyman Olof Hanson. "The...

The Life of Robert Panara Exhibit

The Life of Robert Panara Exhibit is on loan from the Rochester Institute of Technology and the National Technical Institute of the Deaf, in collaboration with the Gallaudet University Archives. On March 8, 2016, Meredith Peruzzi, Manager, unveiled the temporary exhibit that is located in...

Then and Now Exhibit

The Then and Now exhibition was unveiled on April 8, 2014 along with the Gallaudet at 150 and Beyond and Andrew J. Foster: Missionary, Educator, and Advocate exhibitions, as part of Gallaudet University's sesquicentennial celebration. Then and Now exhibition was a rotating exhibit that was on...

We Are Equal 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...


Celebrating 150 Years!

Photo by John Mason In October 2013, students from Michelle McAuliffe's Digital Photography class organized and documented a campus photo with people standing in 150 formations. Photographers Taylor Moser and John Mason captured the moment of jubilation as people signed "1 5 0" and then...


Gallaudet at 150 and Beyond History Through Deaf Eyes Language, Culture, Communities: 200 Years of Impact by the American School for the Deaf We Are Equal: The National Fraternal Society of the Deaf Deaf Difference + Space Survival The Life of Robert Panara, '45 &...


Contact Us

National Deaf Life Museum

Chapel Hall

(202) 250-2235

** By Appointment Only **

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