Last updated: 6/24/2013
Buffalo, New York
3826 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14226
phone: 716-629-3626


Monday - Saturday
10 AM - 4 PM


Adults: $5
Seniors: $2.50
Students: $2.50
Children (6-17): $2
Children under 5: Free
Human Services Employees: $2.50


David Mack-Hardiman, Interim Museum Director
phone: 716-629-3606
Douglas Platt, Museum Curator
phone: 716-629-3608
Brie Kishel, Education Coordinator
phone: 716-629-3623
Thomas Stearns, Research Assistant
phone: 716-629-3604
Pamela Formoso, Museum Store Manager
phone: 716-817-7439
Janet McNevin, Employment Specialist
phone: 716-629-3625

The Museum of disABILITY History is the only "bricks and mortar" museum of its kind in the United States. It is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and display of artifacts pertaining to the history of people with disabilities.

The museum offers educational exhibits and activities that broaden the community's awareness of an often overlooked, yet vital part of our history.


The Museum of disABILITY History is dedicated to advancing the understanding, acceptance, and independence of people with disabilities.


Established in 1998 by Dr. James M. Boles, president and CEO of People Inc. (a non-profit human services agency that provides a variety of services to people with disabilities), the Museum of disABILITY History has steadily expanded over the years and, in late 2010, moved to a spacious new building in Buffalo, New York.

Permanent Exhibitions
Throughout History

A brief introduction to Disability History: “As long as there have been people, there have been people with disabilities.”

Almshouses and Schools

Explores the evolution of care for people with disabilities and the development of early poorhouses, almshouses and schools.

The Path to the Institution

Examines the establishment of early state schools and institutions in New York.

Eugenics in America

A look at the history of "eugenics," including negative and positive eugenics.

Pop Culture

A look at the role of disability in popular culture.

Sports and Disabilities

A look at the participation of people with disabilities in sports and recreation--as well as the development of adaptive sports.

The Evolution of Adaptive Equipment

Explores the history and development of mobility aids and adaptive equipment.

The Invacar Exhibit

The Invacar, a three-wheeled carriage powered by a motorcycle-type engine, was made in Britain from 1948–1977. Our collection features a fully-restored 1963 Greeves Thundersley Invacar.

Artifact Collections

A wide variety of objects and items related to the history of disability.

Research Collections

Our museum library and archives feature an extensive collection of items--including: books, manuscripts, periodicals, documents, bound volumes, disbound articles, and many other print materials. Electronic media includes records, videos, DVDs, 35mm films, reel-to-reel audio tapes, and more!

Educational Programs

The Museum of disABILITY History offers educational outreach programs to schools, universities, and the general public--in an effort to create awareness and a platform for dialogue and discovery.

Kids on the Block of WNY

An educational puppet troupe that travels to elementary schools across Western New York promoting disability awareness and the acceptance of differences. The program is internationally-acclaimed and the troupe sponsored by the Museum of disABILITY History is one of over 1,700 troupes worldwide! Find out more at

kNOw bullying!

In accordance with New York State's "Dignity for all Students Act," all schools are now required to take action to prevent discrimination and harassment of all students, report any bullying incidents, and enforce consequences for bullying behavior. The kNOw Bullying program incorporates a skit presented by the "Kids on the Block" puppeteers in addition to a group discussion and presentation providing students with examples of what constitutes bullying, suggestions for how to become a "Stand-Byer" as opposed to a Bystander, and how to protect themselves from becoming a victim of bullying. This program also includes hand-outs for teachers/parents/students to use as resources following the presentation.


The Museum of disABILITY History also offers traveling exhibits, a docent program, and guided tours. Traveling exhibits are available to rent at a rate of $100 per week + insured shipping. Guided tours are available for $25. For more information, please contact our museum at (716)-629-3626.

A detailed list of our Traveling Exhibits can be found here:

The Museum of disABILITY History is located on the first floor of a beautiful, two-story brick building--dating back to 1932--that was previously utilized as a fire hall by the Eggertsville Hose Company.

The second floor of the building contains People Inc.'s "Training Center for Human Service Excellence."

Lecture Halls
Performance Areas

A project of People Inc., the Museum of disABILITY History is chartered by the New York State Department of Education Board of Regents, and is governed by its own Board of Directors.

Access: General Public, Students, Scholars, Members
Appointment required: Yes

The Museum of disABILITY History publishes a quarterly newsletter for subscribing members, as well as an e-newsletter. The museum also publishes history books and children's books through People Ink Press.

Abandoned Asylums of New England: A Photographic Journey by John Gray
An Introduction to the British Invalid Carriage (1850 - 1978)
Dr. Skinner's Remarkable School for "Colored Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Children" (1857 - 1860)
Ivan the Invacar Helps Big Dog
Ivan the Invacar Helps Little Cat
Ivan the Invacar and the Cave
On the Edge of Town: Almshouses of Western New York
The Gold Cure Institutes of Niagara Falls, NY (1890s)
When There Were Poor Houses: Early Care in Rural New York (1808 - 1950)

We have several rooms that are available for the scheduling of meetings. Contact us at 716-629-3626 to reserve a room.

Welcome to our store.

After you tour our museum, please stop in and see our many special and unique gifts. From housewares to apparel, our store features many Peoplemade items lovingly handmade by individuals from our dayhab centers. You can also find us on facebook or at

Gift Shop
Online Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Group Tours

Our museum fully complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Wheelchair Accessible
Museum Events
This information, including business hours, addresses and contact information is provided for general reference purposes only. No representation is made or warranty is given as to its content or the reliability thereof. User assumes all risk of use. Stories USA, Inc. and its content suppliers assume no responsibility for any loss or delay resulting from such use. Please call ahead to verify the dates, the location and directions.


Western Museums Association’s (WMA) 2023 Annual Meeting

October 5 - 8, 2023

Pasedena, California

New England Museum Association 2023 Conference

November 8 - 10, 2023

Portland, Maine

Small Museum Association 2023 Conference

February 19 - 21, 2024

Richmond, Virginia

2024 California Association of Museums Conference Announced

March 10 - 14, 2024

Location TBD



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Museum Vendors

10/02 Stories USA, Inc.

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Museum Associations

09/28 Southeastern Museums Conference

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09/28 New England Museum Association

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09/27 Florida Association of Museums

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