The Museum of Liverpool is to host an exhibition exploring how people with learning difficulties have been excluded from history as part of a two-year project called ‘People Like Us’.
From There to Here: The hidden history of People with Learning Difficulties in Merseyside runs from May 2 until July 13 and seeks to recognise the changing family, social and cultural history of people with learning difficulties in the area over the past 100 years.
Developed by performing and creative arts company Wicked Fish, the exhibition will also highlight the lives of people who were segregated from society during their own lifetimes, using information found in historic public records.
Di Christian, Wicked Fish’s creative director, said: “The People Like Us project gave us a fantastic opportunity to look back through history to create a community archive in order to share the untold stories of people with learning difficulties in our area.
“Participants took part in many different activities in order to develop their research and work for the project, and were photographed throughout by local photographer Mark McNulty. Mark’s photos, which are featured in the exhibition, show participants learning to use new technologies, delivering live radio shows and taking part in drama workshops.”
The exhibition also features personal stories from participants, oral history interviews and highlights of the radio shows, along with a selection of specially commissioned artwork inspired by those involved in the project.
Many of the people featured in the exhibition from the late 19th and early 20th century attended local schools and institutions in Liverpool such as Chatham Place, Fontenoy Street and Orwell Road. The Royal Albert Institution for the Care, Training and Education of Idiots and Imbeciles in Lancaster served the seven northern English counties. Accommodating more than 1,000 patients by the late 1960s, it finally closed in 1996.
Kay Jones, curator at the Museum of Liverpool, said: “This is a powerful and fascinating exhibition celebrating the diverse lives of local people with learning difficulties, today and in the past. Wicked Fish are making history by ensuring that for the first time their voices are heard.”