Language, Culture, Communities: 200 Years of Impact by the American School for the Deaf

Exhibit Open April 28, 2017 – Oct 21, 2017

In 1817, the American School for the Deaf (ASD) established the first permanent school for the deaf in the United States. It created a new standardized language—American Sign Language—resulting in a deaf community and culture that continues to advance equality. As a leader in developing educational methods and embracing technology for people who are deaf, ASD has impacted personal lives and American culture and has formed local, national, and global connections between deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing communities.

As ASD celebrates its 200th anniversary, the Connecticut Historical Society partnered with the school to present an exhibition that explores the school’s rich history and legacy. The exhibition features original objects and manuscripts from the school’s early years, as well as photographs and video interviews that illustrate the school’s impact on current students and alumni.

Video Comments

We asked visitors to the exhibit to submit their comments about the exhibit or stories about how ASD changed their life.

ASD Student and Alumni Videos

We interviewed students and alumni from the American School for the Deaf and asked them to talk about American Sign Language and Deaf Culture, the impact of communication technology on their lives, and how ASD has impacted their lives.

ASL Interpreted Labels

Watch ASD Executive Director Jeff Bravin interpret selected labels from the exhibit in American Sign Language.

Accessibility for Blind, Deaf/Blind, Visually Impaired Visitors

The exhibit has braille labels, objects visitors can touch, and a downloadable PDF of the exhibit script (mobile-friendly).


Premier Sponsors


Supporting Sponsor

Contributing Sponsor

With Support From


Support for American Sign Language interpreter services for exhibition-related programming is provided by Ensworth Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

Click here for COVID-19 visiting rules. Click here for the CHS’s digital programs.