National Museum of Language
|National Museum of Language|
|Location||7100 Baltimore Avenue
College Park, Maryland (United States)
|Public transit access||College Park|
|Website||National Museum of Language|
The National Museum of Language, located in College Park, Maryland, is a cultural institution established in 1997 to"examine the history, impact, and art of language," and remains one of only a handful of institutions designed for this purpose.
The museum may be among the world’s smallest in physical space. At present it consists of three small rooms: (1) an exhibit room; (2) a reception and administrative room; and (3) an activities room. Yet NML is powerful in its message and story on language, running two concurrent exhibits---(1)Writing Language: Passing It On which traces the roots of early alphabet languages, such as Arabic, Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and features the Chinese and Japanese character-based languages."; and (2) "Emerging American Language in 1812", which explains influences on the development of American English as a separate entity from British English, and includes a display about the contributions of Noah Webster, the 'First American Lexicographer." The NML also displays the world’s only International Flag of Language, the result of a contest sponsored by the Museum in 2008.
Linguists at the NSA put on an exhibition in 1971 called "Language, Its Infinite Variety", however the idea of a language museum does not gain hold until 1985, when the linguists from the NSA exhibition meet again to discuss the possibility. The linguists are unable to establish exhibits at that time, but an organizing committee was formed and a board of directors elected in 1997 - 1998. Prior to opening to the public, the museum hosted a "Creole Languages as Misunderstood and Endangered Languages” symposium in 2007. The museum opened officially on May 3, 2008, with an exhibition entitled ‘‘Writing Language: Passing It On”. The National Language Museum hosts a lecture series featuring experts in various areas related to language use and history.