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.

Collections

WALKING STICK (Walking stick)

MOL.2024.4.2

ID: A light brown wooden walking stick with a black rubber tip.This walking stick was owned by Phil Hume. Phil is originally from Luton, but has lived in Merseyside for many years, and currently lives in Bootle.During the Covid-19 pandemic Phil experienced trouble with his feet which impacted his mobility.Due to the lockdown, Phil could...

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Rights information: Courtesy of Museum of Liverpool

Description

ID: A light brown wooden walking stick with a black rubber tip.

This walking stick was owned by Phil Hume. Phil is originally from Luton, but has lived in Merseyside for many years, and currently lives in Bootle.

During the Covid-19 pandemic Phil experienced trouble with his feet which impacted his mobility.

Due to the lockdown, Phil could not get the help that he needed from the NHS. He was given this walking stick by a neighbour as a temporary measure, but it was too small.

He knew that he had to speak up, push for help and not give up. With the help of his support workers at People First Merseyside, he was able to get a walking stick at the correct height, and the medical treatment he required. He chose to donate his walking stick to the Museum to show others the importance of speaking up for yourself and asking for the help that you need.

Phil has been a member of People First Merseyside, a self-advocacy group run by and for adults with learning disabilities, since around 2007. In this time, he has acted as co-chair and secretary of the group, amongst other positions.

Phil says:

“I have learned a great deal through being a member of the group. I think that people with learning disabilities need to be around the right people and have the right support to help others.”

Disabled people were disproportionately affected during the pandemic, particularly those who regularly accessed social care and other services that could not operate in full at the time. Over lockdown, People First Merseyside were not able to meet in person. They had a WhatsApp group, which Phil said was ‘a lifeline’, as people became lonely, and staff members and friends called up to check on each other. He says the group brings him “happiness, joy, and a giggle.”

Community curation: We collected two objects from Phil when his partner, Rebecca, donated her pop fidget toy to us as part of my display, Assistive Technology: What it means to Us. Phil is Rebecca's partner and they are both members of People First, who I've absolutely loved working alongside during Curating for Change.