Skip to Main Content
Whatever Happened to Polio? home page
Secondary sections for the site are ActivitiesTimelineHistorical PhotosResourcesVisitor Info
Got Ramps? Architectural Barriers Game
Image of two screens from the activity, a woman wearing a dress sitting in a wheel chair from 1955 and a man wearing a T-shirt and jeans in a wheelchair from 2005

This activity illustrates the changes in architectural barriers between 1955 and 2005, before and after the Architectural Barriers Act (1968) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990).

Following World War II, disabled veterans and people who had had polio pushed for access to public spaces. They found the main problems to be architectural and attitudinal barriers—disability was made more difficult by the environment, not of anything wrong with them. They argued that public space and public transportation belonged to everyone and should be designed so that everyone could use them.

In 1955, the common assumption was that people with disabilities—the so-called crippled and handicapped—were not capable of accomplishing much. The prevailing attitude was that people with disabilities should stay out of sight and not be concerned about equal access or civil rights. By 2005, these people had gained many legal protections. Ramps, curb cuts, buses with lifts, accessible bathroom facilities, wheelchair-height amenities, and public awareness of civil rights for people with disabilities have drastically reduced the number and nature of architectural barriers.

Play the game! Choose the Flash version or HTML version.

Life Cycle of the Poliovirus Animation
Two screens from the animation showing a young boy and the poliovirus

Follow this activity and learn how the poliovirus finds a host and starts the disease process. Choose the Flash version or HTML version.

Color in the Life Cycle of the Poliovirus

Download this PDF file to color in the life cycle of the poliovirus. Illustration courtesy of NMAH

Play Game Got Ramps (popup window)
  Flash version
HTML version
Life Cycle of the Poliovirus Animation (popup window)
  Flash version
HTML version
Smithsonian National Museum of American History main site