On May 4, The Center for Accessibility Resources, formerly known as Disability Resources, hosted a reception for an exhibit on the history of disability.
The exhibit, created by Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services, shows the history of disability through the ages. Beginning with ancient times, the panels of the exhibit portray the varying moral, medical and social viewpoints on disability, replete with commentary, images and famous quotes.
Early Greek and Roman philosophers, quoted in the first panel, viewed bodily perfection as a human ideal. As proponents of infanticide for those born with any visible defect, they stand in stark contrast to modern viewpoints. The exhibit explores everything from the words of Jesus and the impact of religion on disabled people, to eugenics and Nazi experiments during World War II.
The exhibit also explores the roles that modern activism, such as the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy telethons and the Deaf President Now movement at Gallaudet University, have played in creating a more accepting modern world.
One of the slides captures a key to the issue of accessibility, stating that 80 percent of people will be disabled at some point in their lives.
Understanding and acknowledging that disabled people are a majority, not a minority, is a major shift in modern public perception.
Terrie Minner, director of CAR, hosted the exhibit along with Cathie Reschke, a CAR accommodation specialist.
“It’s the perfect timing to host this display,” Minner said, explaining that modern philosophical changes towards disability have encouraged schools to make education more accessible than ever before.
She said that LCC is moving toward a “universal design in the classroom” through education. Reschke agreed.
After closing at Lane on May 6, the display moved to the University of Oregon Willamette Hall Atrium on Thursday, May 7.
The complete exhibit is available to view online at the Alaska state government’s Disability and Special Education webpage at: