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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Because of the determined efforts of disability activists, public historians, and other scholars, the hidden history of disabled people is emerging in the public sphere. Although museums and other cultural institutions hold wide-ranging material in their collections that links to the lives of disabled people, its significance is often underresearched and poorly understood. Although disabled people desire greater visibility, like other groups who have been marginalized or misrepresented, they also want to be involved in the process and empowered to make decisions about their representation. Drawing on insights from research and experimental practice, we suggest that the idea of the “trading zone,” the creation of a space of exchange for collaborative and equitable dialogue, provides a way forward for disabled people to make their voices heard in the museum and for museum staff to confront and develop new ways of incorporating disability history into their collections and displays.

Keywords: trading zone, disability history, disables, public history, dialogue, collaborative ventures

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