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May 24, 2023
National Deaf Life Museum
Deaf Difference + Space Sur...
Deaf Difference + Space Survival Exhibition Video
Video description and transcript for DeafBlind and Blind is below:
Still Image: An image of Jerald Jordan flying inside of an airplane with “Deaf Difference + Space Survival” logo. On the bottom, two logos of Drs. John S. and Betty J. Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center and Gallaudet University Museum. Then it fades into an early 1960s footage of Jordan taking a balance test with an eye patch on as part of an experiment.
Text: How do we maintain balance?
Historic Footage: Close-up shot of a man walking on the balancing beam.
Text: What helps us identify the horizontal?
Footage: Close-up of an instrument indicating balance then fades into a rocking ship with the sun in the horizontal.
Text: The answer changes on ships, planes, spinning devices, and in space.
Footage: A person was piloting an airplane with the view of the horizon changing; then fades into close-up shot of a man’s two hands holding metallic devices, then tilting up two a man with two eyes covered by eye-patches.
Video interview – Harry Larson, Gallaudet Class of 1961: (Larson sitting beside a large photo of him standing by the ship “Miquelon”) “I have poor balance, and that’s the thing about us who became deaf following spinal meningitis. We lost most of our sense of balance and the Naval School of Aviation Medicine was interested in that at the time.
Video: Fade into another interview.
Video interview – David Myers, Gallaudet Class of 1961: (Myers sitting beside a photo of him flying inside of a plane) “They were looking for people immune to motion sickness.”
1960s Footage: Interview fades into a panning shot of various instruments in different angles then panned into a Navy officer with a white shirt, then fading with different clips of a man inside of a balance and rotation device that moves up, down, and upside down.
Text: Researchers tested every human function in outer space simulations with deaf test subjects to find out how to cope with motion sickness in space.
Historic Footage: Close-up video of Donald Peterson inside of a simulating machine. Peterson says, “Thank you” with a big smile, then takes his glasses off to put an eye patch on.
Historic Footage – Donald Peterson, Gallaudet Class of 1953: (Peterson is sitting with drapes behind him) “As I rotate to different angles, a head brace and a mouthpiece is fixed to my head with a machine taking pictures of my eyeballs roll in response to whoever knows!”
Footage: Fading into another shot of Peterson, seated in the apparatus, taking part in a rotation test that moves slowly sideways: He wears an eye patch on his left eye. He then tilts right sitting in the machine which is at a right angle. The head brace is removed off of Peterson’s head.
Video: Fading into what appears to be a night-time flight, spinning in different angles. Text: “Weightlessness on flights.“
Text: “The only discomfort was in the pullouts after steep dives when we experienced from 4 to 6 G – if you tried to left your arms, they weighted a ton” Quoted by Robert Greenmum, 1962.
Video: Fade to an old video titled “Zero Gravity Flying” which fades into a clip of Donald Peterson standing outside beside the plane as he explains, using his fingers to outline a graphic painted onto the airplane, how one experiences zero gravity inside of a plane – the plane quickly climbs up then it tips down producing weightlessness.
1960s home movie: Donald Peterson – “Here during the curve of this flight parabola we get zero G before dropping altitude. Before the curve, we get 2.5 G of force, making you feel heavy.
Video: Donald Peterson appears to float upside down inside of an airplane while wearing a white helmet and an orange jumpsuit as two other men stand nearby assisting him to ensure of his safety.
Text: “For me, an exhilarating sensation. The one thing you cannot do is sit quietly on the floor.” Quoted by Robert Greenmum, 1962.
Video: Fade into clips showing few men floating inside of the plane.
Video interview: Jerald Jordan, Gallaudet Class of 1948 (Jordan is sitting with a fireplace behind him and wearing a cap) “Nearly as soon as we finished one parabola, all the hearing sailors got terribly ill. The pilot had to drop fuel off board because the plane was too heavy to land otherwise. We landed, that was it for the day. I was disappointed to miss a chance to play.
Video: Fade into a Peterson floating upside down. Peterson says, “I feel fine.” Then flips to an upright position.
Video interview: Harry Larson – “We always looked forward to seeing new experiments. It was an adventure for us.
Video: Fade into video of the aft of the ship with the words “Miquelon” St. Pierre-Miquelon on it then pan left to view the whole ship.
Text: “Rough Winter Seas”
Video: Fade to a clip showing food and goods being lifted out of the ship with background showing heavy snow on houses and buildings. Fade to clip the crew lowering equipment into the ship, fade into several men (some are part of ‘Gallaudet 11’) standing looking at the port and making faces.
Video Interview (David Myers): “The area by Nova Scotia was known to be the roughest seas in North America. So, they made arrangements for us to go there.
Video: 1964 footage of sea gulls flying across the port, fade to lifesaving boats in the foreground while showing the moving sea, then fade into a clip showing wide shot of the mountains, homes/buildings on the sea, fading into a video of the locals in horse drawn carts in the midst of snow packed buildings, local children are seen playing and waving towards the camera in front of homes covered by snow, then fade into video of Bob Greenmun walking towards the camera signing “So cold!” with snow covered rocky shore in the background, fade to rocking ship showing rough seas as the golden sun is on the horizon, one of the Gallaudet 11 Don Peterson is inside of the rocking ship holding onto the ceiling and laughing.
Video interview: Donald Peterson, Gallaudet Class of 1953 (Peterson sitting on the couch with a large photo of his younger self in a body cast into a centrifuge pod) “Us deaf people sat around a table of playing cards, and I remember looking out a porthole. The stars were jerking in every direction, and I knew the stars weren’t moving, the boat was. One by one, all the hearing people disappeared.
1964 footage: Donald Peterson inside of the rocking ship smiling as he holds onto the ceiling, then fading into a clip looking out towards the iced packed seas as the boat was rocking and moving fast, then fade into various clips showing parts of the ship covered with thick ice, the text says “In retrospect, yes, it was scary, but at the same time we were young and adventurous. Barron Gulak”
Historic Footage: (Don Peterson): Text: “Spinning in body casts.” Peterson was signing and wearing a black rubber suit, “They’ve finished making the black mold, today we cast the front mold for our body casts.” (pointing at his suit) “This is a heavy rubber suit, and it’s quite a bit tight.”
Footage shows Jerald Jordan wearing only shorts with two men beside him in white clothing as they assisted him entering a large metal container outside in front of a white building. Jordan fingerspells, “Glug glug” as he goes inside of the container. Then fade into a shot of Peterson inside of the container as he is smiling and waving, then another clip shows him coming out with the cast support, then fading into a video of two men sawing to trim the blue cast. Two men carrying the final produced cast and setting it along aside with long row of seven blue casts.
Then fades into credits:
The “Gallaudet Eleven”
Historic footage by Donald O. Peterson
Courtesy of Family of Donald O. Peterson
Quotations from letters of Robert Greenmun
Courtesy of James Greenmun
Jerald Jordan (Courtesy of Deaf Studies Digital Journal)
Interviews conducted by
Edited by Margaret Kopp
All rights reserved. Do not copy, use, or reproduce without permission from the
Drs. John S. and Betty J. Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center.
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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