Finding collections relating to d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse people

One of the aims of our project is to make collections relating to d/Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people more visible – and to share some of the objects our Fellows and Trainees are discovering.

Some will have quite obvious connections to disabled people’s lives – a walking stick, some braille or images of disabled people. But we will also be exploring less obvious connections too. Sometimes the significance of an object is its owner; its part in a bigger story, or the way someone with lived experience of disability has responded to it. In this way we hope to broaden the ways that d/Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent stories are told.



Rights information: Copyright: Hastings Museum and Art Gallery


This female hearing aid was designed to be easily hidden behind hair whilst helping the wearer hear better. Female hearing aids were designed to be hidden in stylish and less noticeable designs and often were less effective than more visible hearing aids of the time.

Community curation: I chose the hearing aid because I have always had to wear one and wanted to conceal it. In the 1960/70s, hearing aids were boxes worn over your clothes with wires to your ears. Hearing aids have got steadily smaller and more efficient and can now hide easily behind the ears. I now know that aeroplanes are noisy, and life in many ways is a lot easier, except for swimming! There is, however, an obvious drawback to hiding your hearing aid; people don't know you are deaf and think you are being stupid if you can’t hear them.