Audio collections

These collections include oral histories, historical recordings, recordings of the sounds of Perkins, and recordings made from archival text such as annual reports and articles in the Lantern. All audio is transcribed except for the Sounds of Perkins which includes a brief description of the activity being recorded.

Oral histories

Links to oral histories related to Perkins, including alumni, staff, relatives, trustees, and members of the Teacher Training Program and the Educational Leadership Program. The interviewees include alumni who attended as early as the 1930s to Staff who recently retired.

Historical recordings

Links to historical recordings from 1932 and the1980s. Two of the recordings document Perkins’ History, including a Centenary Address in 1932 and a Christmas concert and address from 1935. One recording documents the WPA Talking Book project. All recordings include transcripts.

Sounds of Perkins

A collection of audio recorded around the Perkins campus. The collection documents the sounds of Perkins, including student life. Recorded sounds include the bells, cheerleading, and a game of goalball.

Historical text recordings

Links to recorded readings of historical text created for the Perkins Museum circa 2011. The text comes from Perkins Annual Reports and covers the move to Watertown (1914), the Howe Reading Club (1921), geography curriculum and intercottage competition (1931).

Film collections

This collection includes contains films produced by Perkins to promote the school and education for students with blindness, deafblindness, then multiple disabilities. The films span from 1923 to 1985. All films are transcribed, captioned, and audio described.

Mother with daughter who is blind in a scene from the 1923 silent film "Light for All".

Light For all, 1923

The silent film showcases the facilities and coursework offered at Perkins. This includes classroom activities, the tactile museum, recreation, and athletics aimed at creating independent and fulfilled adults. A fictional narrative book-ends the documentary segment. The film is 25 minutes long, in black and white.

Vocational students typing with headphones on in a scene from the 1933  film "Perkins Institution".

Perkins Institution, 1933

Footage from an unnamed silent film that showcases the coursework offered at Perkins. It features science, geography, music, athletics, and vocational training classes. Scenes of recreation are also documented with sledding and ice skating activities. The footage was shot at the Watertown campus. The film is 15 minutes long, in black and white.

Mother and daughter walking towards the Howe building in a scene from the 1957 film "The Perkins Story".

The Perkins story, 1957

The film follows the education of a Perkins student who is blind from kindergarten through high school. It explains the challenges faced by a person who is blind, the history of Perkins, the curriculum offered, and other services offered to support the larger blind community. The film is 40 minutes long, in color, and includes sound.

Student using the tadoma method to communicate with her teacher in a scene from the 1961 film "Children of the Silent Night".

Children of the silent night, 1961 

The film highlights the methods used in the deafblind program. The film features successful alumni and several students who are shown learning important aspects of the curriculum, such as the Tadoma method of communication. The film is 27 minute long and in color and includes sound.

Two adults using the manual alphabet in an office setting, in a scene from the 1968 film "Legacy of Anne Sullivan".

Legacy of Anne Sullivan, 1968

A film that celebrates the legacy of Anne Sullivan by highlighting the deafblind programs at Perkins and the Industrial Home for the Blind in New York and programs for adults who are deafblind. It features eight success stories. The film is 29 minutes long and in color and includes sound.

Students performing in a scene from the 1969 film "Deafblind Circus".

Deafblind circus, 1969

The film documents students and staff of the Perkins Deafblind Department putting on a circus in 1969 for the local community to educate the public about deafblindness. It is part of the series called “The World of Deaf-Blind Children,” which also includes the film “How They Communicate.” The film is 9 minutes long and in color and includes sound.

Perkins student drawing next to her teacher in a scene from the 1972 film  "Realities of blindness: The Perkins experience".

Realities of blindness: The Perkins experience, 1972

A film that talks about the nature of blindness and the challenges faced by students who are blind and deafblind. It includes Perkins’ history, technology, the learning disability perceptual dysfunction, and students briefly talking about their different visual impairments and challenges. The film is 29 minutes long, filmed in color, and includes sound.

Student with a white cane practicing crossing the street in a scene from the 1977 film "The Perkins story: Adapting to change".

The Perkins story: Adapting to change, 1977

The film chronicles the changes that have taken place at Perkins as the school has adapted to meet the needs of multiply disabled pupils. It includes examples of the curriculum, including an individualized approach with the goal of maximum independence. The film is 38 minutes long, filmed in color, and includes sound.

A smiling baby in a scene from the 1985 film, "Perkins... challenging, changing, growing".

Perkins…challenging, changing, growing, 1985

A film made of a slide presentation. The film highlights the variety of academic, daily living, vocational, and rehabilitative programs at Perkins designed to meet the needs of a student body faced with multiple disabilities, along with blindness, deafblindness, and visual impairments. The film is 15 minutes long, filmed in color, and includes sound.

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Kindergarten students playing a game in a circle formation in 1893.

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