Today, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the Kennedy Center’s Office of VSA and Accessibility, the National Archives, and many other agencies have been celebrating #DisabilityStories through a Twitter chat, various blogs, articles, and other virtual events.
As I’m surfing around looking at all these interesting sites and stories (see some of the links below), I’ve been thinking about how I could tell our story, museum-style. Museum curators frequently use objects to tell stories. This “material culture” provides physical evidence of the life and culture of a particular place, person, or time.
So, what objects – what kinds of material culture – would I use to curate an exhibit about life with my son? What are the things in our lives that stand out as shortcuts to describe some of what we do each day and how we interact as a family? What would a Quirky exhibit look like? Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Diagnosis = Paperwork.
Filing cabinets, binders, and I-really-ought-to-file-those piles of paper.
Mom’s morning helper.
Disney/Pixar and other favorite shows that are on constant repeat. On our TV. And in our brains.
A staple in the Quirky household since hands-over-ears began ca. 2004.
These lizards, sadly, are now extinct. These are the last pair known to exist. Since Target discontinued them ca. 2014, no other rubber lizard or snake will do. Beads have taken over as the favored spinning fidget.
Medications and supplements.
A rotating cache of pills and powders to help mitigate any number of issues. Some for him. Some for me.
If the kitchen is without any one of these items, a grocery run is guaranteed.
Frogs (and one lizard).
A prime example of groupings of toys that must stay together, always and forever. Please, Do NOT Touch The Frogs.
Not to be confused with a light switch whose primary purpose is to send power to a light or a wall outlet. This one does that, too, but it’s main job is to stay in exactly this same position at all times. One up, one down. If someone else wants to use them for a different purpose, negotiation is necessary.
Trampoline and Ball.
For sensory regulation, gross motor exercise, encouraging language production. And, fun. Mostly fun.
Despite advances in high-tech communication support options, the low-tech paper and pencil prompt seen here remains the best way we can communicate clearly with one another.
Goggles are mandatory, even if only worn on the forehead as a fashion statement.
How many of these reflect life at your house?
What item would be the centerpiece in your Quirky Museum’s exhibit?
Check out these great links for more #DisabilityStories and a celebration of the history and culture of disability in America: