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History: The Past as Prologue

1971 January Linguists at National Security Agency (NSA) present exhibit "Language, Its Infinite Variety." Concept of museum of language born. March NSA puts exhibit on display at Greenbelt Armory for over 1,000 students from 26 area high schools.

1985 Several creators of NSA 1971 exhibit meet throughout the year to develop concept and study feasibility of a language museum. Prepare outline of sample exhibits, discuss possible sponsorship by Smithsonian Institute. Group disbands in Fall when members realize they are unable to adequately prepare exhibits.

The Organizing Committee (1997-1998)

1997 July Organizing Committee (OC) formed. Reviews and accepts concept of a museum of language, based on work of 1983 group. Decides to proceed with creation of independent, national museum of language. November Invites members of language community to join in work of OC December Incorporates National Museum of Language (NML) in College Park, Maryland.

1998 January OC holds discussions with prospective supporters. February Subleases office space. March Gives reception for interested volunteers. April Drafts proposed bylaws. May Meets with Executive Committee of Linguistic Society of America (LSA). June OC holds organizational meeting for NML. Adopts by-laws and elects 11-member board of directors. OC, recognizing completion of its task, is formally terminated.

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The National Museum of Language (1998-2008)

1998 June Board of Directors (BoD) convenes to elect officers and set date for next meeting. August Executive Committee formed; first Associates chosen; bank account established. NML moves to new offices. October BoD forms committees, approves joining American Association of Museums (AAM) December President meets with officials of National Foreign Language Center (NFLC).

1999 March First Spring Workshop. NML receives IRS recognition as non-profit organization; publishes brochure. April Membership drive begins with publication of Information Bulletin. May President meets with Director of the British World of Language exhibition (WOL). June First Annual Meeting features speaker from AAM August LSA becomes Institutional/Organizational member Fall Publication of first Newsletter.

2000 February New NML logo approved. NML presentation at annual meeting of Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT) March Annual Workshop: The committees report. April NML presentation at Northeast Conference on Teaching Foreign Languages (NECTFL). June Second Annual Meeting features speakers from Smithsonian Institute and Defense Department. SCOLT joins as Institutional/Organizational member. Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers (AAFLT) joins as Contributing Member. August Conversion of NML office space to exhibit area proposed. Language Analysis Systems (LAS) becomes first corporate member. NML notes members in 16 states, D.C., and England. September Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) becomes Institutional/Organizational member. October NML presentation at Maryland Foreign Language Association (MFLA) Fall Conference.

2001 March Strategic Planning Workshop votes to focus on creating Prospectus as essential tool for fundraising. Intern program adopted. Defense Language Institute/Foreign Language Center (DLI/FLC) becomes Institutional/Organizational member. June Third Annual meeting features Curator of National Cryptologic Museum as speaker. August NML profiled in AAM 2001 Guide to Museum Giving. October NML presents display at City of College Park/University of Maryland (CCP/UMD) Oktoberfest. Approves first traveling exhibit. Acquires two domain names. NML presentation at Fall Council of MFLA. November NML presentations at American Conference of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and at National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NADSFL). December Major upgrade of office equipment.

2002 March NML presents Symposium on Machine Translation to general public. Intern program adopted. June Fourth Annual Meeting features founder of Satellite Communications for Learning (SCOLA) as speaker. June BoD selects website designer. Recruiting initiative brings new volunteers. NML Information Bulletin resumes as Museum Beat. October NML presents at MFLA Fall Conference and participates in CCP/UMD Oktoberfest. Membership increased by 10%.

2003 January First intern comes on board. February Search for site for interim building initiated. March Spring Workshop: Session focuses on fundraising. NML acknowledges donation of archives and remaining funds of Society of Federal Linguists (SFL). June Fifth Annual Meeting opens with silent auction and presentation of plans for interim building; designed pro bono by student architect. Keynote speaker is Director of newly-established National Virtual Language Translation Center. September NML officers attend opening of first language exhibit at National Cryptologic Museum. October NML presents display on Bavarian Oktoberfest in annual CCP/UMD event. December NML opens office to members at holiday reception, displaying various exhibits, including one from Radio and Television Museum of Bowie, Maryland, and the recently acquired collection of books received from library of distinguished linguist Allen Walker Read. Membership increased by 10%.

2004 April Spring workshop attendees organize teams to develop strategies for directed fundraising. June Sixth Annual Meeting features silent auction and announcement of proposal, co-sponsored by NML, for development of weekly radio program on language to be submitted to National Public Radio. Keynote speaker is Chief Editor of Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), with display of Dictionary. Announcement of newly-elected Board of Directors. October Presentation on NML at Annual Conference of National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs (NASILP) November NML and Parkdale HS representatives discuss possible joint action for YOL 2005; NML assists in planning annual CCP/UMD International Fall Festival and presents multilingual display. December NML hosts holiday reception for members and friends, with displays on current activities, including demonstration CDs of sample scripts of weekly radio program for YOL 2005. Membership increased by more than 10% again this year, and now extends to 17 states and three foreign countries.

2005 January New intern is recruited February City of College Park proclaims 2005 Year of Languages. April NML presents panel discussion in Symposium on "Language and the Access to Justice". June Seventh Annual Dinner features silent auction, update on success of "Talkin' About Talk," weekly radio program co-sponsored by NML and College of Charleston. Keynote speaker is Executive Director of Center for Advanced Study of Languages (CASL). New NML Directors are announced. July New NML Webmaster is selected, work on design of NML website continues. NML representatives meet with OAS representatives. New upgraded office computer is installed. October NML website goes online. November NML presents exhibit at CCP/UMD International Fall Festival as preview of later display at ACTFL Convention in Baltimore. December NML leases additional space for exhibits, lectures. Displays latest exhibits at holiday reception. Membership increased by more than 10%, with members in 23 states and three foreign countries.

2006 February Museum receives donation of language lab equipment. April NML Director represents Museum at Northeast Conference on Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL) convention in New York. NML presents panel discussion in Symposium on "Language and the Mass Media". June Eighth Annual Dinner features silent auction, memorial tribute to co-founder Katharine L. Swift, and keynote speech by noted forensic linguist Dr. Roger W. Shuy. September SIL International representatives visit Museum. October NML representatives meet with Director of College Park Aviation Museum. November NML exhibits at College Park/University of Maryland International Fall Festival and ACTFL Convention in Nashville TN. The book The 5-Minute Linguist: Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages, based on the "Talkin' about Talk" CDs and edited by Dr. E. M. Rickerson and Barry Hilton, is now published. Tennessee Language Quilt on loan to NML. December NML Holiday Reception features WEB site activity report, awards to members and announcement of significant monetary donation to the Museum.

2007 February NML co-sponsors forum with NCLRC and ACTFL for University Students focused on "Global Career Opportunities and Language" at George Washington University. March Symposium on "Endangered Languages" is the first program offered through the Marian M. Jenkins Memorial Language Forum. Included in the event was a cartoon in the Mi'kmaq language. April NML invited by University of Maryland to present exhibit in City of College Park tent for Maryland Day in support of the "Global Village" theme. NML receives grant from City of College Park in support of the preparation of new exhibits. May NML Associate Dr. R. David Zorc speaks on "Language and Culture" at Airport Operations Building near College Park Aviation Museum. June NML recruits new intern. The Ninth Annual Dinner features silent auction, and keynote speaker Dr. J. David Edwards, Director of the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS). 2007 Board of Directors announced.

May 3, 2008 The Museum opens to an enthusiastic crowd and begins regular operations on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. A series of presentations begins on June 22 with Carry Clarady's Cherokee.

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