Built in 1893, the Volta Laboratory and Bureau building served as a place for Alexander Graham Bell to test new technology to aid Deaf Americans. Bell was influenced to pursue a career in deaf education by two important women: his mother and his wife. His mother, Eliza Bell, had almost full loss of hearing, yet she still enjoyed music by feeling the beat of the instruments through the floor. She instilled in her son a curiosity for how sounds were produced which eventually led him to pursue a career as an inventor and educator.
In his late 20s, Alexander Graham Bell took a job teaching Deaf students how to lip read. One of his students was Mabel Gardiner Hubbard, his future wife. She was an important influence on her husband and his work, and she supported him emotionally and financially. The two eventually married in 1877 and had 4 children. Two years after marrying, the couple moved to Washington, DC.
Around this time, Bell invented the speaking telegraph or telephone and was awarded the Volta Prize of 50,000 francs by the French government. He went on to establish the Volta Bureau, which was intended "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge relating to the Deaf." In 1893 Bell constructed this neoclassic yellow brick and sandstone building to specifically house the institution. Today the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing operates out of the Volta Bureau building reminding all who visit of Bell’s influential research.