Stonewall Anniversary

In June of 1994, The Brooklyn Historical Society, The Museum of The City of New York, The New York Historical Society, and the New York Public Library will join CLAGS in mounting a series of exhibitions and programs to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The exhibitions and an accompanying publication are already in the planning stages.

During the late 1980s, major exhibitions on lesbian and gay history were organized in Amsterdam, Basel, and Berlin. But there has never been a parallel undertaking in our own country. This collaborative exhibition project thus promises to be of national importance. Among other things, the project will undoubtedly encourage museums in other American communities to create exhibitions of their own on lesbian and gay subjects.

The local, national, and international significance of the Stonewall riots will be a major focus of the proposed series of exhibitions. But Stonewall will also be used as an access point to explore the complete history of lesbians and gay men in New York. Material from as far back as the colonial period will be included. But the overwhelming emphasis of the exhibitions will be on the mid- and late-20th century.

The exhibition planning process will be launched by a scholarly conference sponsored by CLAGS, to be held at the The Graduate Center, CUNY in September 1992. At the Fall conference, key issues in the history of lesbians and gay men in New York will be discussed by 25 scholars from various universities around the country who will be coming together for this purpose alone. Consideration of these issues will enable the exhibition organizers to intelligently select the themes that will be used to organize the exhibitions as well as to determine the relative weight that should be devoted to each theme.

CLAGS Board members, Vivien Ng, Martin Duberman, Esther Katz, Seymour Kleinberg, and Randolph Trumbach are working on the project as members of the CLAGS Stonewall Committee. So far the committee has been responsible for shaping the Fall conference and providing the project with overall intellectual direction. David M. Kahn, Executive Director of The Brooklyn Historical Society and a new CLAGS Board member, has spearheaded the project.

An important feature of the project will involve soliciting artifacts from members of the lesbian and gay community for inclusion in the exhibitions. Such artifacts will supplement existing holdings of the sponsoring institutions. The project director is Fred Wasserman. Anyone with historically important materials to donate to the project should call Fred at (718) 624-0890.