Baldwin Collection

  • Baldwin Collection

    Photo of Ear Trumpets

  • Baldwin Collection

    Photo of Conversation Tube

  • Baldwin Collection

    Photo of Ear Scoops

  • Baldwin Collection

    Photo of Baldwin collection in display case

The Baldwin Collection is an exhibit containing nearly 90 antique, non-electrical hearing devices that is on permanent loan to Western Michigan University. This collection could very well be one of the largest individually owned collections of antique hearing devices in the world. It includes an assortment of London domes, rigid and telescopic ear trumpets, conversation or speaking tubes and ear scoops. Most of the devices are from the 1800s. 

Photo of Doctor Richard Baldwin.

Dr. Richard Baldwin

The exhibit is on loan to the University from Dr. Richard and Patty Baldwin. Richard Baldwin graduated from WMU's former deaf education program in 1964 with a certificate to teach deaf children. He went on to earn a master's degree, also from WMU, in 1968 and worked as a teacher for hearing impaired children, a college professor and as state director of special education in the Michigan Department of Education.

Baldwin, who was born with a hearing impairment and wears a hearing aid, began collecting the antique devices many years ago and steadily adds to the collection. Dr. Harold "Hal" Bate, WMU professor emeritus of speech pathology and audiology cleans and maintains the exhibit.

The Baldwin Collection is affiliated with the Charles Van Riper Language, Speech and Hearing Clinic within the WMU Unified Clinics. The collection is housed in the University Medical and Health Sciences Center at 1000 Oakland Drive.