Museum of Deaf History, Arts & Culture/William J. Marra Museum

The rich history of Deaf culture is explored though the history of a school for the Deaf. As you pass through the William J. Marra Museum of Deaf History and Deaf Culture in Olathe, Kansas, you begin to realize that the history of the Deaf school in Olathe is not so different from the history of any school in the United States.

One of many ways to explore and learn about Deaf culture is through the history of a school for the Deaf. Most states have a state school for the Deaf. In Kansas, a school for the Deaf was established in Baldwin County in 1861, a full three years before President Abraham Lincoln dedicated Gallaudet University.

Cheerleaders, sports, debate teams, computer classes—they are all on a Deaf school campus. Dances, theater, the arts—you can find them at a school for the Deaf just as you can at any other high school. Come find out why “Being deaf isn’t a disability, but a different ability.”

“SAFE!” “He’s OUT!” “Curve ball to the left”

These are well known signs in major league baseball. What may not be so well known is where those signs come from. You can learn about their origins at the museum.

​If the sports world can thank anyone for the signs used in baseball today, Luther “Dummy” Taylor, a pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 1900s would be that person. Luther’s manager wanted all his team to be able to communicate with Luther, so he insisted that all his players learn American Sign Language. From these first communication efforts was born the signal system used in the major leagues today.

The museum is proud to host the only exhibit of its kind in the country featuring Luther “Dummy” Taylor. Come visit the Deaf Cultural Center and stop in to say hello to a sports legend, a great ball player, a great deaf man—Luther “Dummy” Taylor.

William J. Marra dedicated his life to the collection and preservation of information and relics related to Deaf people. Marra was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, and graduated from both the Kansas State School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University. He was a teacher at the Kansas School for the Deaf for 38 years, retiring in 1976.

The first William J. Marra Museum at the Kansas School for the Deaf was dedicated on September 20, 1986, and has been a source of pride for the Deaf community. Marra is the recipient of the Kansas School for the Deaf Alumni Association's Alumni Dedication Award, the Gallaudet Universtiy Alumni Association's prestigious Laurent Clerc Award and the Kansas Association of the Deaf's Award for Meritorious Service.

Contact Information

455 E Park Street

Olathe, KS 66061

Phone: 913-782-5808


Location Type



Interpretive Signs

Site Info

AC / Heating




Water Fountain

Wheel Chair Accessible