Language is one of those things we take for granted. Every day we write, text and speak to each other. It’s what excites us to travel, meet new people and learn the history of where each dialect has transformed over time. In one of the D.C.-areas only all-virtual museums, the National Museum of Language, you can dig into the roots of language, from culture to education and beyond.
In our effort to highlight the museums around Washington, D.C, we spoke with Greg Nedved, president of the National Museum of Language, to share what makes this museum special, how you can access it virtually, and what you need to know before check out their website
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Where is the National Museum of Language located?
Location: This is a VIRTUAL museum, but our offices can be reached at the National Museum of Language, P.O. 453, Greenbelt, MD.
Is the museum accessible?
We are an online (virtual) museum that is available 24-7 at languagemuseum.org
What topics does the National Museum of Language cover?
“Our mission is to inspire an appreciation for the magic and beauty of language.” The National Museum of Language examines the history of language plus ALL aspects of language you can think of, including foreign languages, language instruction, the art of language, language and culture, etc.
Simply stated, if it is language, we are interested.
What is your museum’s claim to fame?
When the museum opened its doors to the public in 2008, it was one of the very first museums of its kind in the world, i.e., a museum dedicated to languages across the board (other language museums focus on specific aspects, e.g., alphabets, words).
In 2008, we created the world’s first international flag of language (seen here: languagemuseum.org/exhibits/international-flag-of-language). When we became virtual in 2013, we became among the very first totally virtual museums in the world.
What is your favorite exhibit or artifact in the museum?
The National Museum of Language’s International Flag of Language, as noted, is a rarity. Our website currently features Greek language cartoons from the ancient world (Philogelos), interviews with linguists from all over the world, a language of the month, and a growing collection of foreign language children’s stories.
What kinds of special exhibits and events do you host throughout the year?
Because we are virtual, we host two events open to the public: speaker events and language camps. Our very first virtual presentation was in May 2020. We also have exhibit items that we loan out to other museums or organizations via our Movable Museum.
Are there guided tours available?
Unfortunately, no. However you can view some of our holdings on our website.
How much time should someone plan to spend at the museum?
As stated, we are a virtual museum. Browsing our website can take as long or as short as you like.
What should parents of young children know before visiting the museum?
There are children’s resources online. We also have an annual summer camp for children.
What should teachers planning a field trip know before reaching out to you?
We have teacher resources on our website that compliment the field of language studies.
What are your normal days and hours of operation?
As a virtual museum, we are open 24/7 and free for anyone to access.