A world-class institute of changemakers in the deaf and signing community.
Since 1864, we have been investing in and creating resources for deaf and hard of hearing children, their families, and the professionals who work with them.
Over 50 degree programs, with online and continuing education for personal and professional development.
Innovating solutions to break down barriers, and using science to prove what does and doesn’t work.
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This exhibition tells the story of Deaf people who served the nation by participating in early space studies. They put their minds and bodies to work in centrifuges, on zero-gravity flights, and on rough seas.
We know that a small inner-ear organ is largely responsible for balance and motion sickness, but even today's researchers have yet to understand all the inner workings. Deaf people who participated in these early space studies did not have that functioning inner ear organ. Their difference made them uniquely qualified to participate in motion studies, where they simply never got sick no matter how fast they spun, tipped or twirled.
Try to envision yourself in their shoes, or in their seat, in constant movement. With their help, NASA studied motion sickness, but also human responses to dangerous environments, confinement, and endurance. This history could have been overlooked. Deaf people’s contributions to the space program might have been lost without the willingness of these participants to share their stories, photos, and footage. That, paired with scientific reports, built an extraordinary story of human variation.
We are grateful to the Deaf people who volunteered themselves for research so the space program could make progress. Studies on the human response to space environments is ongoing, and we still have much to learn. Deaf test subjects helped researchers understand a puzzle that is still being pieced together.
Gallaudet University is a federally chartered private and premier university for the deaf and hard of hearing since 1864.
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800 Florida Avenue NE Washington, D.C. 20002
Spring 2021 – Dec 12Fall 2021 – May 15