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Deaf Professionals in American Art Museums

  • By: Deborah Sonnenstrahl Blumenson
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Deaf professionals have a long history of working in American art museums, but this is something that has rarely received public attention. This entry outlines the incidents that paved the way for deaf people to seek employment in art museums across the United States.

Early American Art Museums and Deaf Individuals

American art museums have been part of the American art scene since 1783 when the United States as a nation was only 7 years old. No mention of deaf professionals working in museums appeared until 1925—a span of 142 years. Despite the hardships endured during the nation’s infancy, the pioneers nevertheless saw beauty in the arts. In 1783, the first known museum in the United States was established in Baltimore, Maryland, by Charles Willson Peale, an ...

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