‘Remembering Willowbrook’ opens at Paul Smith’s College VIC

PAUL SMITHS – The Paul Smith’s College VIC will host the exhibit, “Remembering Willowbrook,” beginning Monday through March 29.

There will be an opening ceremony at 2 p.m. Monday with the program at 2:30 p.m.

Hours for the exhibit are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

A closing ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. March 29 with a music and art extravaganza.

Willowbrook State School was a state-supported institution for children with intellectual disabilities located in the Willowbrook neighborhood on Staten Island in New York City from the 1930s until 1987.

The school was designed for 4,000, but by 1965 it had a population of 6,000. At the time it was the biggest state-run institution for people with mental disabilities in the United States. Conditions and questionable medical practices and experiments prompted Sen. Robert Kennedy to call it a “snake pit.”

Public outcry led to its closure in 1987, and to federal civil rights legislation protecting the disabled.