Founded in 1829, Perkins has long been at the forefront of education and accessibility for people who are blind and visually impaired with additional disabilities.
Dr. John Fisher charters the first school for the blind in the U.S. after observing educational practices in France for people who are blind.
The school opens with Samuel Gridley Howe as the first director, using rooms in his father’s downtown Boston home.
Enrollment grows and Thomas Perkins, vice president and school trustee, offers his larger home to the school.
Laura Bridgman enrolls in the school and becomes the first documented person who is deafblind to be educated.
Bursting at the seams with 65 students, Thomas Perkins sells his house and puts the funds toward the school’s relocation to a hotel in South Boston. The school is named for Perkins in honor of his generosity.
Charles Dickens, the British author of classics such as “David Copperfield,” visits Perkins and documents Howe’s work with Laura Bridgman in “American Notes.”
Howe Press opens to produce braille books.
Perkins graduate Anne Sullivan travels to Alabama to teach Helen Keller. The pair relocates to Perkins the following year and stays until 1893.
A new campus is built on the banks of the Charles River in Watertown, Massachusetts, the school’s current site.
The first Perkins Brailler is designed and produced by David Abraham at Howe Press.
The school’s name changes from Perkins Institution for the Blind to Perkins School for the Blind.
Perkins creates the Hilton/Perkins Program, known today as Perkins International, to provide services to children who are blind or deafblind with multiple disabilities around the world.
Perkins opens the Thomas and Bessie Pappas Horticulture Center, a greenhouse for students to study horticulture and benefit from horticultural therapy.
Perkins Products unveils the Next Generation Brailler, an update on the classic that is 25 percent lighter than the original and easy to use.
Perkins opens the new Lower School, which features larger, more accessible classrooms and a bigger auditorium. Perkins celebrates the opening of the Grousbeck Center for Students & Technology, the first campus-wide space for student recreation and technology.
Perkins Products unveils the SMART Brailler®, a revolutionary tool that combines audio feedback and a digital screen to change the way people who are blind and sighted can learn braille. The Federal Communications Commission names Perkins, in partnership with the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth and Adults, responsible for the marketing and outreach portion of its new National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, which provides communications technology free of charge to low-income people who have combined vision and hearing loss.
Perkins Products is presented with the President’s “E” Award, the highest recognition any U.S. entity may receive for contributing to the increase of American exports.
Perkins establishes the Perkins Business Partnership (PBP), an alliance between Perkins and some of the region’s best-known businesses and nonprofits, which works to break down barriers to employment and expand opportunities for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
Perkins names Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel of Saudi Arabia special ambassador to the Middle East, where she advocates for increased access to high-quality education and services for children who are visually impaired in the Arab region.
Perkins launches BlindWays, a mobile app that helps people who are visually impaired locate MBTA bus stops independently.