The Museum of disABILITY History is dedicated to advancing the understanding, acceptance and independence of people with disabilities. The Museum’s exhibits, collections, archives and educational programs create awareness and a platform for dialogue and discovery. The Museum of disABILITY History is a project of People Inc. and is chartered by the New York State Department of Education Board of Regents. People Inc. exists so that individuals with disabling conditions or other special needs have the supports they need to participate and succeed in an accepting society.
The Museum of disABILITY History is a member of the Western New York Library Resources Council.
Museum of disABILITY History Information:
Museum of disABILITY History
3826 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14226
Museum of disABILITY History Collections:
J. N. Adam Memorial Hospital
This collection contains magazines and postcards chronicling life within the J.N. Adam Memorial Hospital, also known as the J. N. Adam Sanitarium, later as the J. N. Adam Developmental Center, or simply as J.N. Adam. The facility was designed by architect John Hopper Coxhead and is listed in the New York State Register of Historic Places. The hospital was founded by James Noble Adam, former mayor of Buffalo, in 1909 with the purpose of caring for City residents with tuberculosis. The easily transmitted disease was a lethal scourge and allegedly responsible for the death of 500 Buffalonians in 1910. J. N. Adam was used as a tubercular hospital until 1960 and then was turned over to the State of New York for use as a developmental disability center. By 1995, the institutional treatment of such diseases had ended. The complex is currently abandoned and its condition is deteriorating. The history of the facility is threatened by a deeply uncertain fate.
The magazine, Grit-Grin, was produced by hospital residents and staff, and offers valuable insight into this isolated community. Content included columns documenting stories about the patients, events happening within the immediate area, and drawings and poetry. The social isolation experienced by the patients is an important context to view this material. Most of the patients came from Buffalo, NY, located 36 miles away from the rural town of Perrysburg. The social fear of tuberculosis was a barrier that kept people away. Patients were often unable to see family or friends for weeks or even years. Consequently, the staff and patients were left to create their own community. The Grit-Grin magazine was one venue through which this community could express itself.