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Museum of DisABILITY History

Temporary Exhibits

At the Museum of disABILITY History, there is always plenty going on. We play host to a variety of temporary exhibits—all of which are well worth exploring.


The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases From A State Hospital Attic


Come read the story of Mr. Lawrence; a man who claimed to hear God and see angels. Come see a part of his life and journey as someone who received care through hospitals and former institutions. Some of his belongings were found in the suitcase seen below. Come see its contents at The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic Exhibit at the Museum of disABILITY History.

This worn suitcase has seen institutional living and the struggles and horrors therein. Many times people placed in institutions had very few belongings. Many things they brought with them were taken by other residents of the institution or the staff.

Many possessions were put away after their owners passed, not returned to close friends or loved ones because many times there was no record kept of them. These possessions were just sitting and waiting to be found. The Museum of disABILITY History puts these sentimental items on display in order to preserve the identity of those placed in institutions and to not forget the struggle they went through. Come see The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic Exhibit at the Museum of disABILITY History.



Continuum of Care: A History of WNY Human Service Agencies is a temporary exhibit that we are always seeking to expand.

Does your organization have a unique history?

The history of human service agencies in WNY is more than just dates of establishment or old street addresses, it is like a family saga. It’s the story of PEOPLE who saw a need to help others to lead lives that would be meaningful and appreciated. Whether your organization had its roots in the faith–based community, a civic charitable organization, or the Parent's Movement, there are stories of struggle and triumph, serious work and serious joy to be told. And like any "family tree" there are certainly some colorful figures who helped to shape the vision of "what could be" by engaging the community, businesses and the media.

The Continuum of Care exhibit is designed to be unveiled in a series of installments. If you would like to learn more about how your organization can be featured in our "Continuum of Care: A History of Western New York Human Service Agencies" exhibit, please contact the Museum of disABILITY History at (716) 629-3626 or