Western Pennsylvania Consortium Working to Share Disability History.
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Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium

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Our website offers a collection of resources about disability rights history. 
Bookcases in the Memorabilia Room filled with items used at Polk Center throughout its history.


November 2018 

The Work of The Consortium:  Preserving & Sharing Untold History

The Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium has been busy this last month documenting institution history and collecting new stories from a variety of individuals and organizations throughout the region.

Recently, the Consortium traveled with the Heinz History Center staff to Polk Center (opened in 1897) in Venango County.  The Consortium documented many of the buildings and artifacts that remain.  Polk Center is one of the four state institutions still operating in Pennsylvania.                                                
Our multi-media project is underway, documenting the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and autism who lived in and out of institutional care, their families, and the people who provided their care.
We also had the opportunity to see how successfully our partnership is working with the Heinz History Center.  Last weekend we had the opportunity to attend "Treasures in the Archives", an annual event in the History Center's Detre Library and Archives.  Sierra Green, archivist, presented a rich and vibrant multi-media lecture on the life of Paul Dick, a nationally recognized transportation advocate who played a significant role in ACCESS rides for people with disabilities, here and throughout the United States. 

Joe Shapiro, National Public Radio, Speaker Next Week
Register Now

Joseph Shapiro has covered disability stories since 1987. Shapiro has been a witness to the disability rights movement and has chronicled some of its most dramatic moments and written about its biggest heroes. Shapiro will talk about disability history, play some of his radio pieces and talk about his reporting—including a recent ground-breaking series on the epidemic of sexual assault of people with intellectual disabilities—and share behind-the-scenes stories.  Learn more about this Pittsburgh event organized by the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University and Register for this Free Event Here.

Have you taken our survey?


If you haven't taken our survey yet, please do. The Consortium serves as a clearinghouse for records and artifacts that tell the story of disability rights history and activism in Western Pennsylvania. 

If you know of such items or information, we'd like to add them to the listings on our website. If you need help preserving them, we can help with that too. 

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