Small school museum with rich history


                   (photo taken on September 7, 2016)

California School for the Deaf, Fremont’s fairly new museum is about 500 square feet which is small for a school that has a long history. The room was a bit crowded, but not cluttered. Some of the artifacts are as old as 156 years old. The school was first founded in San Francisco in 1860. The school later moved to Berkeley in 1889 and then to Fremont in 1979. Many of the items were taken from both locations and saved when the school moved to Fremont. Many CSD alumni donated some items when the museum was founded.

The bookcases were taken from San Francisco’s location and used at Berkeley’s location. The bookcases and many other items (there are two more bookcases on other walls, by the way) were too many and too big for Fremont’s library, so off they went to a storage unit until about seven years ago. The museum obviously needs a bigger room, but finding a new location on the campus is a problem and will be a very expensive move. The museum has only one curator who is alumni and a retired teacher. When I walked in the museum, I immediately could tell how old those items were because of the smell and the antique furniture in there were impressive. The feelings I had about the museum were: pride, appreciation, and “wow, the deaf children had this and that back then!” I could not go in the museum’s small archive room, because more items are stored in special containers and the room is temperature controlled.

Note: You can see a little girl in the background. It is a child-sized doll wearing a uniform that was used at the San Francisco location. A deaf alumnus made the doll and donated it to the museum before he passed away.


6 thoughts on “Small school museum with rich history

  1. So I was wondering if this museum was created to show the history of this particular school or for a lot of different Children’s Schools for the Deaf?

    Either way though this sounds like a really interesting experience and idea for a museum. While it’s unfortunate they don’t have that much space it seems like they are still looking to get more funding so that expansion can be an option in the future. For them I would also recommend maybe having a slideshow of some sort showing photos from how it was back then because this might help make whoever is viewing the museum feel more connected and be more involved with the exhibit.

    • The museum is all about one particular school, CSD-Fremont. Slideshows and old films would be awesome to share, but with the size of the museum that will be difficult to make that possible. We hope one day it will be possible.

  2. Hi Jane,
    I really like this photo and agree with you that the room is a little cluttered. Sometimes in museums like this, I feel like there is so much to look at, that I miss some important items. There are a lot of really great artifacts pictured here and it’s cool to see what items they had for students back then. I really like the doll in the uniform, because it gives you an idea of what some of the children looked and dressed like and that makes it easier to imagine their life back then.

  3. That is an excellent exposure of what old fashion is all about. That is way before they started printing papers with lines on them. Back then, they had to write line on the paper themselves. That is just fantastic antique and VERY WELL preserved collection. I am amazed on how they staged it because it sure is CLUTTER! Note to self;The light looks a bit off and they need to correct that so it is face at them instead behind them for better clarification as I struggled to see what I was looking at. Maybe it is me since I am color blind so maybe that will answer your question why I said that?

    • HI Mark,

      No, it is not your color blindness, it IS the lights. I had my son who is also color blind to verify for me. We agreed that the lights were positioned awkwardly and the lights should not be crossing over. All lights should be facing the walls without crossing over and maybe two or three lights positioned to shine straight down to the floor and desks without crossing over. Was that what you meant?

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