Barbara Floyd and Kim Brownlee have been honored again for their work on the exhibit, “From Institutions to Independence: A History of People With Disabilities in Northwest Ohio.”
They received the Edith Rathbun Outreach and Engagement Excellence Award at the Academic Honors Reception last week. The annual award recognizes exceptional community-engaged scholarship in research, teaching and/or professional service. Each took home $375 and a certificate.
For the exhibit, Floyd, director of the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections, university archivist and professor of library administration, and Brownlee, manuscripts librarian, assistant university archivist and assistant professor of library administration, worked with Canaday Center staff and student assistants about one year preparing archival materials and artifacts the center has collected since 2001 when the Disability Studies Program was established at the University.
In addition, Floyd and Brownlee organized accompanying public lectures that brought authors to campus to talk about their books and the premiere of “My Black Bird Has Flown Away: The Life of Hugh Gregory Gallagher,” an original one-man play by Carlton Spitzer, starring Broadway actor Jeremy Lawrence. The Canaday Center preserves the personal papers of disability scholar and activist Gallagher, who wrote the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.
“The quality of the work can be measured in many ways. The attendance at the exhibit opening, three author talks and the limited-seating dramatic performance was in excess of 500,” one nominator wrote. “The popularity of the exhibit was such that the original ending date of Feb. 27 was pushed back until the end of the semester.”
The nominator also noted two honors the Canaday Center received for the exhibit: the Ability Center of Greater Toledo’s 2008 Community Access Award in recognition of extraordinary efforts to raise awareness and/or improve the lives of persons living with disabilities and an Ohio Public Images Award from the Public Images Network for the promotion of positive awareness of persons with developmental disabilities.
“This exhibit brought together pieces of the hidden history of persons with disability from the scattered pockets of institutional, public, academic and private collections throughout the region to tell a story that has received little scholarly or popular attention,” one nominator noted. “For many students, it was an eye-opening experience to hear these stories for the first time; while for others, it was an opportunity to see their own lives and histories being showcased and not neglected.”
“The publicity generated by the exhibit also has encouraged new donors to contribute their materials to the Regional Disability History Archive, including playwright Carleton Spitzer and the local Knights of Columbus organization,” another nominator wrote. “These additional materials and manuscripts will now be available for future researchers in the Canaday Center.”
A grant from the Office of the Provost’s Academic Excellence Program funded the exhibit.
“From Institutions to Independence: A History of People With Disabilities in Northwest Ohio” will remain on display through Friday, May 8. The free exhibition can be seen in the Canaday Center in Carlson Library on Main Campus Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.