Founded in 1998 by Dr. James M. Boles, the president and CEO of People Inc., one of Western New York’s most renown non-profit human services agencies, the Museum of disABILITY History offers an eclectic collection of artifacts, archives and educational programs on the lives of individuals with disabilities. The Museum of disABILITY History offers several exhibits- permanent exhibits, temporary exhibits, and traveling exhibits. Of the permanent exhibits, the collection includes the following collections:
Throughout History- An introduction to disability history.
Almshouses and Schools- A journey through the history and evolution of care for individuals with disabilities, and the development of poorhouses, schools, and almshouses.
Path To The Institution- An exhibit documenting the implementation of state schools and institutions in the state of New York.
Eugenics In America- This exhibit explores the history of eugenics in the United States, including both positive and negative aspects of eugenics.
Pop Culture- Explores the role of disability in popular culture.
Sports and Disability- This exhibit takes you through the world of sports and recreation, and the development of adaptive sports.
The Evolution of Adaptive Equipment- A history of the development of mobility aids and adaptive equipment.
The Invacar Exhibit- The Museum of disABILITY History offers a unique look at the Invacar, a 3-wheeled carriage powered by a motorcycle engine. The Invacar was produced in Britain from 1948-1977.
The Museum of disABILITY History features a virtual museum on their website, with eclectic memorabilia on each virtual wing. Click on the advocacy wing to view articles relevant to disability advocacy- buttons, banners, and a collection of photographs of politicians and people seeking reform for the rights of the disabled. The Media wing includes photographs of Helen Keller and other cultural figures. The wing showcases many television shows and movies that portray characters with disabilities, such as the hit show, “Life Goes On” (1989-1993).
People Inc., one of Western New York’s foremost non-profit human services agencies, has been serving individuals with disabilities since 1970. Since that time, the organization has provided an array of services to people with developmental disabilities, as well as individuals with other disabling conditions.
Through services such as community outreach, employment, recreation, and healthcare, People Inc. "Exists so that individuals with disabling conditions or other special needs have the supports they need to participate and succeed in an accepting society.”
Image credit: Photo by Noble Mitchell on Unsplash