Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington hosts a discussion about the history of designing technology for people with disabilities next week.
Author Bess Williamson visits the museum to delve into her book Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design.
“Accessible America describes a shift in the ways that Americans approach public spaces, technologies and everyday products in terms of thinking about disability,” said Williamson.
Williamson says she hopes her book helps people better understand the history of designing technology for people with disabilities.
"For those of us who have been alive for more than 40 or 50 years or even longer, we might remember a time when a curb-cut wasn’t as commonly expected, when captions on videos were only to be found in like a special section or ordered through a doctor - right?" said Williamson. "These have become very common, familiar tools.”
Williamson notes her research shows that while disabled people have always adapted their homes and products to make day-to-day life easier - it only became a public issue in the post World War II-era.
Williamson is an associate professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
She says the Hagley Museum is perfect venue for this talk because it is home to the archives of a number of key industrial designers who worked on this subject.
Williamson will be at Hagley Museum on Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 7 p.m. Copies of her book will be available for signing.
The event is free, but those planning to attend should call Carol Lockman at (302) 658-2400, ext. 243.
An excerpt of the book is available here.