A Research Center and Archive on Disabilities

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A research, teaching, and conference facility at Pennhurst would offer a unique opportunity to create connections and promote networks within and among the disability and broader communities alike. Intended to be created and operated in partnership with an affiliated university, the site's teaching and learning opportunities could make use of the resources of the adjacent museum, benefiting from the rarity and critical mass of those resources. It should be noted that no other museum of this caliber has been established anywhere else in the nation. Its presence will be a major advantage to the partnering institution.

A research, teaching, and conference facility at Pennhurst would, in turn, academically enhance the adjacent museum, memorial and interpretive center. The museum, memorial, and interpretive center, also in turn, would facilitate the operation of the research component by inviting public participation in the activities of the research and teaching facilities. The recreational and supporting uses located on the campus surrounding the historic core will encourage visitation to the site. It should be noted the campus is already (though illegally) a popular site for recreation, given the beauty of the grounds and the views it provides.

This project—both the finished facility and the process of its creation—offer nearly limitless educational opportunities for students. Even at this stage of planning, the project can offer research, writing, conservation, archive, grant seeking, and outreach opportunities for interested students. These opportunities provide a rare chance to work with some of the legendary persons in the disability advocacy field toward goals that will have a lasting and meaningful effect.