Friday, February 6, 2009

Guess What? National Museum of Language ...

Guess what? There is the National Museum of Language in College Park, MD, but but but .....

No mentionable of American Sign Language (ASL) or any kind of sign language! How sad!

Here is the link for you to check out and send out your grievance in tactful way. Thanks. FREE ADMISSION!

ASlize yours,
Robert L. Mason (RLM)


  1. Robert Alfred HawkinsFebruary 6, 2009 at 4:49 PM

    Maybe they sought input from the deaf community only to taken lightly if not outright ignored. We never know for sure. I've seen my big share of deaf-ironies. If I was you I'd ask them first and take it from there.

  2. Did you ask the staff about the lack of an ASL exhibit? I notice that they show few exhibits of languages, not all, at a time. It's possible that they use different exhibits at different times, like Smithsonian does. Maybe they did cover ASL at one time or plan to.

    I did send them an e mail, enclosing the link to your blog. So hopefully I will receive an answer.

  3. Hello, Actually, we are engaged in talking with a professor at Gallaudet University about collaborations that would lead to our inclusion of materials on ASL. We have provided a sign language interpreter for one of our lectures, and are open to including information on ASl. However, our current exhibit focuses on Writing Language, so we only have information related to written languages in the form of the alphabetic writing systems and logographic writing systems. In our next exhibit, which is now being planned, we hope to address the topic of Living Language, with the subtopics of Language and Identity, Immigration, Dialects, and Slang. One of our consultants may be a member of the museum who is going research on the regional varieties of sign language. So please give us time to develop these materials. We have only been operating the museum exhibit for 8 months. If you have recommendations for information on the written form of ASL that could be added to our current exhibit, or a person who could give a presentation at the museum on the topic of ASL, I'd be glad to know about them.
    Jill Robbins Director, National Museum of Language

  4. Dr. Robbins,

    While there is no conventionally accepted written form of ASL, there are a few areas you can look into:

    SignWriting (

    Also, Dr. Sam Supalla at the University of Arizona has been working with a writing system for ASL. I believe his email is

    --Donald Grushkin, Ph.D.

  5. Thanks for the links, Don - I've added the Signwriting link to

    Robert Hawkins gave some good advice - ask rather than criticize. First, let me explain a little more about the National Museum of Language. We are a very small museum, run entirely by a very small group of volunteers. We do not receive any federal funding. Our name "National Museum of Language" refers to our view of our mission as being to inform the public nationally about the importance of language.

    Now, in reference to ASL, I have consulted with one of my fellow directors, and found out that we do have some resources on ASL, which are available for anyone who comes to the museum and asks for them. They are not on display currently because our current exhibit is being shown in a 300-square-foot room which doesn't allow us to put out all of the materials we have developed. Our first exhibit focuses on a limited number of alphabetic writing systems and the logographic system of Chinese writing. Please do stop by and see what we're all about.


    Jill Robbins, Ph. D
    Director, National Museum of Language
    Office: 301-864-7071
    Directions to museum:

  6. Dr. Robbins and everyone,

    I really want to thank you and everyone leaving dignified comments what we could improve and make the National Museum of Language to be much better and worth place for people in general to appreciate the existence of languages themselves.

    I will write another blog entry this week if time permits regarding the National Museum of Language and what we could for this museum, etc.

    Dr. Robbins, you need to know about the SignWriting really not reflect much on the lively and eloquent language, American Sign Language. It is just an intriguing concept, etc., but not really workable and used by anyone deaf on daily basis.

    Thanks to Don G for his inputs on suggestion of "SignWriting" which have been controvestial and fascinating.

    Thanks to Robert Hawkins and Mishka Zena for their wisdom.

    I was in real hurry writing this blog posting less than few minutes and rushed for media scoop without being a real journalist and inquire for the official reply from the National Museum of Language.

    I am sure that many deaf people really appreciate for Dr. Robbins' immediate response to this blog posting in regard to the National Museum of Language.

    Look forward for the fruitful collabration with the National Musuem of Language to make it a real educational and entertaining in near future. :)