It has been twenty-five years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. People with disabilities in the United States have fought for over half a century for equal access to programs and services. Many of our museums and historic sites still exclude persons with disabilities, whether through physical barriers, communication barriers, or the omission of disability from the historical narrative. Public historians have an important role to play in providing an inclusive experience within their programs and institutions. In conjunction with the 25th year of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this working group will discuss and begin to address the challenges public historians face in creating fully inclusive sites and programs for people with all types of disabilities.

Each of our working group participants has contributed an individual case study addressing the challenges of providing equal access to programs within historic sites and institutions. We will use this online forum to discuss each other’s case studies, ask questions, and recommend strategies for implementing best practices into our professional work.

We invite our working group participants, as well as members of the public, to use the comment section and start the discussion. Thank you!

Facilitators:

Heather Heckler, Independent Historian
Nicole Orphanides, American University

Discussants:

Kelly Enright, Flagler College
Amanda Harrison, American University
Michele Hartley, Harpers Ferry Center for Media Services/ National Park Service
Jim Huck, National Park Service
Catherine Kudlick, San Francisco State University
John Little, American University
Brian Mast, The University of West Alabama
Katherine Ott, Smithsonian Institution
Drew Robarge, Smithsonian Institution (case statement not publicly visible)
Kristen Rund, Arizona State University
Kate Stringer Clary, Coastal Carolina University
Ashley Terrell-Rea, Smithsonian Institution

Discussion

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