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Volume  2, No. 1

October 2018
SHOP TALK: A New Social Media Strategy, BHK Kickstarter Update

We usually put this feature at the end of our newsletter, but for this issue we thought we'd use it as orientation about how we are changing our Social Media methodology.  We've learned a lot about this work in the past two years and we recognize that our newsletter, our FB, our Twitter, and our web audiences each have distinctly different demographic profiles. But after the breakneck pace of the Kickstarter, we took a rest and decided as a group that there was wisdom in tweaking our communication methods. 

The big change? Starting this October, we're posting our original pieces about disability history first as blog essays. We're calling this blog page DisMuse. It will give both the visitors and the writers a bit more freedom and control. Our FB posts have tended to be lengthy, but are just fine for a blog. Our new page lets us tag and sort each piece by its topic. This will make the content more discoverable via search tools. We will share the material via FB and Twitter, but we won't have to depend so exclusively on hashtags.   DisMuse is also our twitter handle, but there it is spelled @dis_muse. 

Our goal is to provide at least one original disability history piece weekly, and if you would like to join the team of folk writing about disability history, let us know. You can reach us at Finally, though we may be a bit slow at first, we hope to upload more than 50 of our original FB history posts as an archive inside the new blog by the end of this month.

KICKSTARTER Compatriots! We've fulfilled most, not all, of our Kickstarter material rewards.  The Braille Pillow Pattern and Braille Poster deliveries are still outstanding, but most everyone else who requested an artifact as a reward should have received it by now.  If you haven't received your mug, the papermania packet, postcards, fat suit, etc-- let us know.

With your help, we're back in the editing room! It has been quite a lovely change of pace to work on the film project more than its funding. More about this progress to come.  We know that many of you have heard about the Texas school board wanting to remove Helen Keller as a required or recommended female figure of historical study. We are sure the state of Alabama thinks differently, as do the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut.  Just remember, Citizen Keller was very familiar with being the focus of controversy!
Disability History & Massachusetts 2018 Social Studies Standards
By Rich Cairn, Director of the Emerging America Program, Collaborative for Educational Services, Northampton, MA

Activists, historians, and teachers have been working for decades to incorporate Disability History into the K-12 curriculum. On June 26, 2018 the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education unanimously approved a new History and Social Science Curriculum Framework, replacing standards enacted in 2003. The new standards, which apply to all Massachusetts public schools, thoroughly integrate inquiry and make civics a central focus, including a new 8th grade civics course. The standards also addressed a mandate to “[i]nclude more content in all grade-levels related to underrepresented groups.” In answer to this mandate, the new Framework integrates specific key points of Disability History throughout, especially in standards high school courses in U.S. History I and II. [Read more]

Following The Money: Bump, Nutt & Barnum
Lavinia Bump, George Washington Morrison Nutt Jr., and PT Barnum

Why sign up to exhibit yourself?  It’s a question worth pondering when talking about 19th-century performers with disabilities.  Better pay than that offered by other jobs may have been most important, but what were the specific terms and conditions of this kind of employment?
Two contracts housed in Bridgeport, Connecticut, help to shed light on the matter.   One is the contract that first signed Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump, soon to become famous as Lavinia Warren and as “Mrs. General Tom Thumb,” to showman P.T. Barnum’s employ.  The other is the contract that first brought another little person, George Washington Morrison Nutt, under Barnum’s wing. [Read More]

Including Disability Voices! Dorothea Dix & Isaac Hunt

For Massachusetts teachers, the Disability History Museum just became more useful. With the announcement from the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that the new History and Social Studies Curriculum Framework now includes aspects of disability history, it can be expected that teachers will be looking for appropriate materials to fulfill that new mandate. Some of those materials, particularly for teachers seeking ways to include people with disabilities in examinations of antebellum reform movements, are readily available in the Education Sector of the Disability History Museum. We hope that teachers from Massachusetts, and from across the nation, will take advantage of the resources we provide. [Read More]
Copyright © 2018
The Disability History Museum,
All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Box 395, Conway, MA 01341

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