Redefining Disability in Museums: Exploring Disability in Museums

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The representation of social minorities has been the object of discussion, debate, and reflection relating to contemporary museological practices and thinking within museums regarding the content of exhibitions, participation, and collaboration with marginalized groups. However, people with disabilities continue to be underrepresented in most museum exhibitions and public programs, and they are seldom recognized as a social minority with their own culture and identity. When they are represented, they most often appear in an undignified context, irrespective of the current ideas of otherness and human diversity. What policies and practices can museums develop to change the cultural significance of disability and raise the awareness of their audiences regarding the issues of disability, presenting their legacies, trajectories, and history? How can the contents of these collections be explored and presented publicly through curatorial or educational practice? What impact can the representation of disability have on museum dynamics? With these questions, this article focuses on current issues regarding the practice of representing disability in museums in Portuguese collections, addressing and problematizing the way museums have publicly interpreted and presented disability through their collections and exhibitions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-31
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of the Inclusive Museum
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • Disability
  • Representations
  • Inclusion
  • Discourses
  • Portuguese Collections


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