“Places in Buffalo, NY”
The Museum of disABILITY History is dedicated to the collection, preservation and display of artifacts relating to the history of people with disabilities. One of the most touching exhibits is called "The Lives They Left Behind". Imagine packing your life into one suitcase. Pictures of your loved ones. Meaningful books and letters. Gifts from your family. Reminders of your greatest accomplishments. Inspiration for future goals and dreams. In 1995, when the Willard Psychiatric Center, located in the Finger Lakes region of N.Y., closed its doors, an incredible discovery was made in the attic: hundreds of suitcases, untouched for decades, filled with the most important belongings of their former owners. These suitcases tell the stories of the lives that were left behind when patients entered the center, many of whom never left. They tell of dreams and aspirations. Of futures unfulfilled. Of incredible accomplishments. Of love lost and love shared. Of loss and isolation. Of the rich and full lives abandoned when they walked through the doors. The Museum of disABILITY History is proud to host The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases From A State Hospital Attic as a special exhibit open to the public. The exhibit honors the memories of those who packed the suitcases and hopes to inspire dialogue about the treatment of those with mental illness. Willard Asylum for the Insane had an average stay of 30 years, and many patients that came to the hospital never left. In the summer of 1995, 400 suitcases, each filled with the earthly belongings of those people who had long since been forgotten, were discovered in the attic. In a way they were time capsules of the lives they lived before they were committed. Many of the folks who came to stay at the Willard Asylum had been abandoned by their families or had no where else to turn, and when they died, their unclaimed bodies were buried in unmarked graves in the cemetery across the street. Their possessions were shuttered away and forgotten. It will run until the end of 2016.
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Museum Of Disability History
- Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
- Sat: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
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