TEEN Santa Fe New Mexican
By Raina Wellman
January 15, 2015
The Kenneth E. Brasel Centennial Museum is a small but packed museum adjacent to the library at the New Mexico School for the Deaf on Cerrillos Road. After walking through the glass door entrance, a portrait of the school’s first superintendent, Lars Larson, greets the visitor. In 1885, Larson came to New Mexico and founded the “Territorial Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb,” as the school was then known. Larson began his school with six students. In the log of the first students to enter the original NMSD — which is among the museum’s exhibits — it documents the hometowns of students, including some locations that no longer exist. Many students were born deaf but some came due to illnesses like scarlet fever and smallpox.
The school states that the museum “is dedicated to the history in honor of our hearing impaired students of yesterday, today, and tomorrow … so that they may know and be proud of their history.” The museum is a celebration of deaf students’ story and the long way that deaf education and equality for the deaf has come. Larson is quoted as saying, “It cannot be denied that the deaf and the blind have the right to receive education just as their other brethren do.”