STONEWALL NATIONAL MUSEUM & ARCHIVES

Current Exhibitions 

BLK

Founded in 1988 in Lost Angeles, BLK – The National Black Lesbian and Gay News Magazine sought “first and foremost,” to be the magazine that “covered the African-American lesbian and gay communities in the United States.” First printed in newsprint, later it was a full-color glossy magazine until the end of its run in 1994. It featured news stories and interviews as well as articles and columns on sports, events, musuc, AIDS, film, literature and politics. Personal ads were also included. On Exhibition until August 28, 2020.

Click here for the press release.

Click here to view the virtual exhibition.

2020 – 2021 Exhibition Schedule

Stonewall-National-Library-and-Archives

FIRST LOOK

Objects, papers, serials and findings that caught the eye and imagination of newly installed Executive Director Hunter O’Hanian upon his arrival at SNMA.

WOMEN LEADERS

As of the 2019, no woman has been elected president of the United States. 

However, since the 1970s there have been many women elected to public office, including many out lesbians.  In 2018, the largest number of women were elected to both local, state and national office.

This exhibition looks at the careers of nine lesbian elected public officials, through the eyes of the gay press from around the country, found in SNMA’s Archives.  We explore the challenges and opportunities these public officials faced.  

Featured public officials will include: Nancy Weschler (Ann Arbor 1972), Elaine Noble (Massachusetts 1974), Karen Clark (Minnesota 1981), Deborah Glick (New York 1990), Joanne Conte (Colorado 1991), Liz Stefanics (New Mexico 1992),  Gail Shibley (Oregon 1991), Althea Garrison (Massachusetts 1993) and Cheryl Jacques (Massachusetts 1993).

LIFE LETTERS

Correspondence between LGBTQ friends, family and lovers.

Contained within our Archives of the personal papers of many people from South Florida.  Within those papers are notes and communications between partners, family members and friends.  Some of those papers date back to the middle of the 20th century.

In this exhibition, we will exhibit and explore this correspondence and examine how these individuals communicated with each other, terms and language they used, along with coding and hidden meanings within the correspondence.  It will provide an opportunity for today’s generation to reflect on their own communication about their sexual orientation through the words, notes and interactions of another generation.

Letters of well-known LGBTQ individuals which can be found in our library will also be used in this exhibition.

ARTSUNITED

For more than twenty years, ArtsUnited has served the need of local LGBTQ artists for an interactive and supportive working environment. They showcase work in all genres, including visual art, music, theatre, film and fashion.

This exhibition will focus on recent works by ArtsUnited members.

MIS-INFORMATION

In the early 1980s when the AIDS crisis began its impact on the gay community, many “experts,” authors and others promoted “cures” or “treatments” which the community gravitated toward. Many of these ideas were widely disseminated through the gay press, both regionally and nationally. Unfortunately, many of those ideas were factually and scientifically inaccurate.

In our library, we have more than 500 books on HIV and AIDS. Several years ago, we had asked several medical experts to review our holdings to determine if the books on the shelves contained ideas that were factually inaccurate. We discovered that we had more than 75 books that had to be removed because there was enough inaccurate information in them that someone who had recently sero-converted could be negatively impacted. We saved the books in a Special Collection (not available to the general public) as we way to preserve the reality of what happened at that time.

In this exhibition, we select various theories espoused in these books and track how stories about the “cures” or “treatments,” were circulated by the gay press throughout the county. With more than a thousand titles in the publications section of our Archives, we have serials from throughout the United States, many from the 1980s and 1990s.

This exhibition reveals how the gay community inadvertently spread false ideas in its understandable zeal to find a cure. 

HOOK-UPS

Today, many young queer folks find and meet each other through web-based platforms.  A community is created around a digital device.  However, as the LGBTQ community grew in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, most people used printed newspapers and magazines to find each other.  There they found switchboards, personal and display ads and other listings which were used to find everything from a gay book club to a dog sitter to a date for the weekend.  Using materials from our Archives, we will explore how gay people met each other in the last quarter of the 20th century.

EARLY GAY GATHERINGS

A look at the first LGBTQ organizations from the mid-20th century through their publications, newsletters and internal communications.

QUEERS AT HOME

Although gay men and lesbians have lived together in partnership for many years, (i.e., The Boston Marriage), during the last half of the 20th century, such domestic relationships became more common.  From the ‘70s to the ‘90s it was not at all uncommon for a gay LGBTQ couple to live together under one roof, even though they could not legally be married and often had to tell family, friends, co-workers that the other person was a “roommate.”

In this exhibition, we will explore the degrees to which LGBTQ people adopted a domestic life, both similar and vastly different than heterosexual couples.  The exhibition will look at both actual relationships and those found in gay and lesbian fiction of the time as in many cases fiction is the only written record of gay relationships from the time.

EARLY LESBIAN PUBLICATIONS

Started in 1977, and based in Los Angeles, Chrysalis was a quarterly magazine which sought to be “uncompromising (through pluralist) in its feminist; serious, yet without the jargon and tendentiousness of academic journals; entertaining and accessible.”  Printed on quality stock and perfect bound, early editors included Audre Lorde, Judy Chicago, Linda Nochlin, Adrienne Rich and many other female writers and artists of the time.

Begun at the same time and originating in Michigan, Lesbian Connection was a grass roots publication (photocopied, typewritten pages) which sought to provide connection between lesbians, whether in their hometown or across the country.  They offered news on local events, support groups, book reviews, as well as political news relating to issues such as adoption, equality, personal safety and advocacy.

In this exhibition, we will explore how these two publications fed the desire to find a community which supported their efforts to find equality and acceptance.

DON'T ASK, DO TELL

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” was the official US policy on military service by gays, bisexuals, and lesbians, instituted by the Clinton Administration on February 28, 1994, when Department of Defense Directive 1304.26 issued on December 21, 1993, took effect, lasting until September 20, 2011.

Drawing upon materials from SNMA’s Archives, this exhibition will explore the LGBTQ community’s response to the controversial policy before, during and after the seventeen years it was in effect.

SEAN

John Klamik, aka “Shawn” and “Sean” (1935-2005) was from Illinois and trained as an artist and illustrator at the Art Institute of Chicago. At age 26, he moved to West Hollywood and became part of the gay culture there for the last quarter of the 20th century.

It is estimated that Klamik made more than 10,000 illustrations during his lifetime.  They were used to illustrate gay pride marches, bars, restaurants and greeting cards, as well as cartoons.  He was an active illustrator for many mainstream publications, as well as gay publications from the United States and France.

SNMA has an extensive trove Klamik’s records and artwork.  This exhibition will present the original drawings, many of which have never been publicly exhibited.

THE SAINT

Located in Manhattan’s East Village, from 1980 to 1987, the Saint was a disco and performance venue, second to none in NYC.  It was the epicenter for gay nightlife, featuring the best disco dance music, sound system and DJs. 

Additionally, it featured many live performers, including: Betty Buckley, Natalie Cole, Debbie Harry, Jennifer Holliday, Eartha Kitt, Patti LuPone, Maureen McGovern, Pet Shop Boys, Chita Rivera Sylvester, Luther Vandross, Sarah Vaughn and many others.  Posters, graphics and other materials from the Saint will be on display.

JOEL STARKEY

Joel Starkey (2/1/46 – 1/4/92) was the founder of The Southern Gay Archives (which later merged with the SNMA). Using papers and items from our Archives, we will explore the life an individual who was a gay publisher; AIDS activist (who was among the first to sue his insurance company for failure to provide medication); feminist (early member of the National Organization for Women); correspondent/advocate for incarcerated LGBTQ individuals; and collector of socialist publications.

ROBERT GIARD

In 1985, after attending a performance of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart—one of the first dramas dealing with the impact of AIDS on gay life—Robert Giard decided to devote his energies as a photographer to some aspect of the gay and lesbian community. Thus was born his two-decade long project of photographing over 600 gay and lesbian writers—from famous playwrights to emerging novelists to unsung poets and pioneering performance artists. 

QUEER BOOKS

Over the last decade there is a flood of books written by younger queer audiences for their contemporaries.  In this exhibition, we will explore some of these recent novels and the lives of the authors.  The community will be engaged with readings, talks and discussion groups based on these works.

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Mon-Fri 11 am - 6 pm     Sat 10 am - 4 pm     Closed Sun

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