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Always Part of the Story

We are the Horniman's Access Advisory Group. These objects represent us and our work.

The Access Advisory Group is a diverse group of individuals with lived experiences of disability. We play an important role in the Horniman. We have made this gallery accessible to more people.

Museums are now becoming more accessible but too often disabled people aren’t visible. We set out to change that with this display. We did our research in the museum collections to bring together this collection of objects.

Some objects challenge assumptions but some reinforce stereotypes.

Some objects in the collection show negative depictions, for example that disability is caused by upsetting a spirit, or something that needs to be cured.

Many of the objects we found depict physical disability. It was harder to find objects that show hidden disabilities. Many of the objects are depictions of Disabled people but are not self-representations.

You can’t make assumptions about which objects are about disability, because all objects can tell these stories.

Disabled people have always been part of the story and played a role in many parts of community life but their voices have often been excluded. There have been many assumptions about what people can or can’t do when really it’s up to individuals how they live their lives.

We all have many identities and play many roles. Don’t judge a book by its cover…

These objects and our responses show that the world can be experienced and understood in many different ways. We recognise and respect this.

Behind the scenes film

Learn about how the Access Advisory Group worked with the Horniman to develop their display.

About the objects

See some of the objects chosen for the display, and read why the group chose them: