Museum of disABILITY History Provides Education, Reflection
Jun 21, 2011
A new museum opened in Buffalo, New York that explores the way society has viewed disability throughout history. The Museum of disABILITY History has permanent educational exhibits about disabilities in the media, society, medicine, advocacy, education and exhibits specific to New York history. They also offer awareness-raising activities such as movie nights and panel discussions, as well as creating traveling exhibits for other museums.
The museum, created by the advocacy group People Inc, is the very first brick and mortar museum of its kind, with exhibits covering a wide range of topics. Not only does the museum explore the evolution of the language surrounding disabilities from pre-literate society to modern day words, but they also explain the history of institutions dedicated to helping those with intellectual and physical disabilities. The exhibits don’t shy away from the darker parts of disability history and raises questions about “community responsibility for care of the disabled,” according to Jack Foran, reporter for the ArtVoice.
Not only does the museum educate the public about the history of how societies have labeled and handled individuals with disabilities, but they also are a center for advocacy for disability rights. According to their website, “The Museum of disABILITY History is dedicated to advancing the understanding, acceptance and independence of people with disabilities. The museum’s exhibits, collections, archives and educational programs create awareness and a platform for dialogue and discovery.”
The Accessibility and Technology Geek Blog recommends the Museum of disABILITY History’s website, calling it “a virtual museum” in its own right, that features details on all the exhibits and resources for educators. The website also offers a resource page for individuals with disabilities that features links to legal assistance, details on the ADA and other government programs, as well as reviews of disability studies.
The Museum of disABILITY History is a great step for individuals with disabilities around the world. It is very important that individuals with disabilities not only have a place to learn about their own history, but also to gather information about services and assistive technology that can help them in their daily lives.