Deaf Studies Archive opens April 3

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A. Sue Weisler

A sample of publications housed in the RIT Deaf Studies Archive.

Want to turn back the pages of history? Then come browse through an impressive collection of books—including NTID’s first yearbook from 1980—videotapes, artwork and literature collections when RIT Libraries officially opens its Deaf Studies Archive 3-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, in room 3660 of Wallace Library.

Director Chandra McKenzie, researcher Harry Lang, professor emeritus Robert Panara and archivist Becky Simmons will be on hand to celebrate the Deaf Studies Archive, created last year to honor the 40th anniversary of RIT becoming the host institute for NTID. Guided tours of the archive will be offered and sign language interpreters will be available.

The expanding Deaf Studies Archive collection features historical documents related to the legislation, construction, and presence of NTID on RIT’s campus and contains significant materials related to deafness, deaf education, deaf studies, deaf theater and deaf culture.

Among the items are the Robert Panara Deaf Literature Collection, consisting of literature, plays, mysteries, and romances featuring deaf characters; a series of 52 NTID Student Life videotapes from the 1990s; original artwork by deaf artists, including several alumni; records from the Empire State Association of the Deaf, the oldest state association dedicated to advocating for the rights of deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens; research papers and curricular materials from Edward Scouten, English teacher at NTID in the 1970s and 1980s; and a collection of photographs and documents from Delta Alpha Sigma sorority, the first deaf sorority at RIT.

The archive also contains a collection of materials from Lights On! Deaf Theatre and the Eugene and Inez Peterson Collection, a compilation of oral histories of “everyday deaf people” in the United States.