On November 20th, the American Folklife Center participated in an event at the Library of Congress announcing the “next chapter” of the AIDS Memorial Quilt project. You can read about that event in a previous blog post that also includes a link to the livestream video of the event, and also view some photos by American Folklife Center staffer, Steve Winick. The full press release from the Library about the event and the collection acquired by the American Folklife Center is available on the Library’s website.
A component of that day’s activities was a collection display in the Jefferson building featuring items from the archival collection associated with the Quilt. While that display was only up for a few hours, you still have a chance to view some of the material it featured! There is now a special temporary display on the 1st Floor of the Jefferson Building in the Great Hall. The NAMES Project Foundation and National AIDS Memorial have generously lent the Library a block from the Quilt made by Library employees in 1992 to commemorate their colleagues lost to AIDS. Flanking this block are two display cases with archival materials from the collection that American Folklife Center recently acquired.
American Folklife Center staff led efforts to select items for the display, and worked with both the Conservation Division and the Exhibits Office at the Library. One of our archivists, Charles Hosale, is involved with processing the collection and had a key role in helping develop this exhibit. He noted:
“As we work to make the collection available to the public, I’m very glad to be able to preview a selection of letters from the AIDS Memorial Quilt collection panel maker files, and to highlight published resources about the Quilt. We chose to show the letters alongside images of their corresponding panels to highlight the connections between the makers’ words and art. Together, they form a powerful memorial to the makers’ friends and family members lost to AIDS. The exhibit presents just a few stories out of tens of thousands being preserved by the American Folklife Center which are profoundly moving and vital records of the AIDS epidemic.”
Come on by and view the display, which will be available until the morning of December 2nd! And be sure to check back here for updates as we continue to process the AIDS Memorial Quilt collection for use by researchers and the general public.