National Museum of Language Announces New Board of Trustees Member

We are pleased to introduce you to our newest Board of Trustees member, Laura Wagner, Ph.D.


An associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Ohio State University, Dr. Wagner earned her doctorate in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. She specializes in how children acquire language and learn about meaning, and has held academic positions at universities that include UMass-Amherst and Wellesley College.

Dr. Wagner’s research looks at various dimensions of meaning, including children’s understanding of temporal and event semantics, as well as their understanding of social indexical meanings coded in dialect and register.

Dr. Wagner lends a high degree of linguistics research expertise to the Museum’s governance. As the director of the Language Sciences Research Lab at the Columbus Center of Science and Industry (COSI), she helps to educate the public about research methods and the science of language.

Dr. Wagner joins the Museum’s passionate and diverse group of language professionals at a time of rapid growth. As we expand our virtual presence through new exhibits, articles, and partnerships, we are excited to welcome Dr. Wagner and look forward to a productive year in language exploration.

To read an interview with Dr. Wagner, see the Linguistic Society of America spotlight here. A list of selected publications can be found here.

Posted in Blog

Help Grow the Virtual Museum

Are you interested in creating an educational experience for visitors to the Virtual National Museum of Language?

Do you have digital design skills? Can you edit php, html, and feel comfortable on WordPress? Are you skilled in Photoshop, Premiere, or Flash?

Contact us to discuss how you can contribute to NML’s development of a Virtual Exhibit.

Posted in Virtual

Young Linguists of America

Hello! Hola! Bonjour!

This page is for young people who want to explore languages.

Young Linguists of America is sponsored by the National Museum of Language.

See our exhibits

Fun with Chinese: Try the quiz

Posted in Uncategorized

Japanese Writing

GOROAWASE EXAMPLESPowerPoint on Japanese number-writing: Goroawase PDF | Goroawase PPT

Link to Google Slideshow









Japanese Writing PPTPowerPoint on Japanese characters









Posted in Exhibits


NML needs people like you who are passionate about language. Contact us to volunteer as a docent, greeter, committee member, or grant writer.

Here are some of the things we need help with from our volunteers:

  • Update and monitor our social media accounts: Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Website
  • Inform the public of our activities through regular print and broadcast media (Patch, Post)
  • Serve as a greeter or docent at the Museum
  • Assist with setup and hosting at our speaker events  or with promotion of the events beforehand
  • Around the Language World Summer Camp – promotion tom March – June; participation in July and follow-up activities afterward
  • Inform the public of our activities through regular print and broadcast media (Patch, Post)
  • Participate on a committee for funding, education, programs, or technology

Committees of The National Museum of Language

Administrative Committee – Chair: John-Joseph Smith

  • Communicates with Subcommittees on Operations and Outreach activities

Public Relations SubcommitteeGreg Nedved

  • Interacts with the public to increase awareness of NML
  • Writes articles for press releases (newspapers, magazines, journals)
  • Seeks out public relations opportunities
  • Updates NML brochure
  • Solicit volunteers

Website Subcommittee – Chair: Jill Robbins

  • Update and maintain website
  • Maintain email accounts & mailing lists
  • Send mass emails to announce events

Membership Subcommittee – Chair: Jill Robbins

  • Record memberships
  • Develop materials & strategies to solicit new and renewal memberships

Fundraising Committee

  • Development Committee – Chairs: Jody Olsen & John-Joseph Smith
  • Identify companies, foundations, etc that are potential donors
  • Communicate with key people in organizations that can help NML
  • Conduct regular fundraising activities (Silent Auction, Annual Dinner, etc.)

Grants Writing Subcommittee

  • Identify grant sources
  • Write and submit grant proposals
  • Assign a grant administrator for grants received
  • Report on work conducted under grant


Museum Programs Committee – Chair: Pat Barr-Harrison

○      Develop an implementation plan for programs in the museum

○      Interact with subcommittee to develop strategies and implementation plans

○      Find and train volunteers,  docents and interns

  • Museum Exhibit Subcommittee

○      Discuss future exhibits and form working group to research and implement

○      Collect materials to be included in exhibit

○      Develop plan for displaying exhibit

○      Mount new exhibits (remove old exhibits)

○      Evaluate and catalog accessions (exhibit materials)

○      Maintain exhibits

  • Speaker Series Subcommittee

○      Communicate with Board members and others to identify speakers

○      Solicit speakers and make schedule for presentations

○      Write and distribute announcements

○      Host speaker events (plan with Program Committee chair)

  • Collection Subcommittee

○      Maintain catalog of books for Library

○      Review potential accessions

○      Collect books and other items for NML



Posted in Events

American Indian Festival

AIF 2013 flier

The Natural and Historical Resources Division of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
cordially invites you to join us in a celebration of American Indian culture and heritage.

5th Annual

Saturday, October 19, 2013, 10 am – 4 pm

Patuxent River Park
16000 Croom Airport Road
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
(Group Camp and Picnic Area)


Master of Ceremonies: Dennis Zotigh Arena Director: Michael Nephew
Host Drum: Medicine Horse Guest Drum: Youghtanund
Head Dancers: Steve Miller, Rie Miller
Musical Guests: Ron Warren & Janice Torres, Dawn Avery, Aio Sifu

Free Activities Include:
Drumming, Singing, Dancing & Storytelling Performances
Educational Exhibits, Interactive Demonstrations
Beading, Finger Weaving, Traditional & Contemporary Art
Primitive Life Skills, Flint Knapping, Hand Made Tools
Artifacts, Regalia, Languages, Genealogy
Native Horsemanship & Bareback Riding Demos
Indian Games, Crafts, and Archery
Live Birds of Prey

Nominal Fees:
Traditional Foods & Other Favorites
Horse & Pony Rides, Basket Craft, Vendor Sales
Multiple Raffles Including a Collectible“ PENDLETON” Blanket

Festival Information
Phone: (301) 297-4575

The Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities. Please contact the facility
two weeks in advance of the program start date to request an accommodation (i.e. sign language interpreter, support staff, etc.). TTY 301-699-2544.

Posted in Uncategorized

Language Autobiography Course

NML members at the Supporting level or above can take part in a four week course culminating in writing one’s language autobiography. Because different aspects of language are so prevalent in all our lives, it can be fun, rewarding, and personally meaningful to reflect on the story of language in our lives and to write about it.

Michael Erard, author and linguist who has written extensively about language in people’s lives, will teach a course on writing your language autobiography. You will be able to pick any aspect of your language life and develop it into a narrative. Some people write about their family’s history with languages. Others write about their experiences with literacy. Some write about experiences with stuttering, dyslexia, or speech and language impairments. Some write about their individual experiences learning foreign languages.

The objective of the course is to produce a 1500-2000 word (about 5 to 10 pages), well-edited draft of a narrative that is suitable for passing down to one’s children/heirs or circulating within a family.

Michael will provide guidance related to shaping the material into a narrative as well as inspirational questions. The environment will be warm and supportive. The class will be held virtually online and written materials shared digitally, so access to a reliable computer and a speedy Internet connection are requirements.

The course will include:

  • Four one-hour classes, held online
  • Discussion of example language autobiographies
  • Workshopping of one’s writing
  • Expert review by the instructor

Limit: 15 attendees per course.

Complete the form below to register for the class.

Posted in Classes

Membership Renewal


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Posted in Uncategorized

Significant Operational Changes for the National Museum of Language

Letter from the President:

Dear Associates, Members, and Friends of The National Museum of Language:

The Board of Trustees is making some significant changes to our operations which will better promote our defined mission:

To promote understanding of, and appreciation for, the beauty and magic of language — in history, contemporary affairs, and the future. We seek to lead our on-line and on-site visitors to discovery of the wonder of language and languages.

 To fulfill our mission we have defined four key initiatives for the immediate and longer term future:

  1.  Expand our Exhibits, Artifact Collections and Other Programs, reaching out with fixed, ”mobile”, traveling and exchange programs, as well as other “mobile” curatorial experiments. A “Bricks and Mortar” Museum on the Move, “Bricks and Motor”;
  2.  Deploy Advanced Audio-Visual Technologies for Interactive Teaching and Exposition: on-line; on-site; and on-the-road. The “Digital Museum”;
  3.  Expand our “Museum as Forum” efforts — Speakers Series, Lectures, Collaborative and Sponsored Conferences, Workshops, Symposia, etc.;
  4.  Build upon our prior success with our Children’s Summer Language Camp.

As of early September we will be taking two steps forward on the first and third of these initiatives:

First, we will consolidate our exhibits at 7100 Baltimore Avenue into the anteroom of the office suite, moving most of the materials in the present exhibit room into temporary storage. We will refocus our on-site exhibits in this space and also retain our administrative office here for the indefinite future.

Second, we will be seeking out other venues for our exhibits — both existing and planned — at schools, libraries, community centers, and other locations where we can expect a higher level of regular visitors than we have been able to attract to our current location. Very importantly, we will need renewed and energetic contribution from our docents at these sites to make this a successful redeployment of our material assets and human resources. 

Third, we will likewise seek out other venues for our presentations and other special events, in collaboration with other language and language-culture entities around the greater DC area. 

These changes are consistent with the new strategic vision which the Board adopted this past Spring, to augment our outreach to the communities we serve, to make the Museum a more nimble and noticeable presence — on site and on-line — in the Nation’s Capital.

We ask for your continued support of our new direction. Please feel free to contact any of the Trustees if you have any questions.

The Board of Trustees

John-Joseph Smith

Chairman of the Board and President

The National Museum of Language
College Park, Maryland
Posted in Events

1812 Exhibit Overview

Click to view a larger version.

Posted in Uncategorized