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The Smithsonian Adds to its LGBT Collection

August 26, 2014

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has added a significant number of archival materials related to LGBT history to its collection.

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Additions include Renee Richard's tennis racquet, the original transgender pride flag, materials from the NBC television series Will & Grace and the diplomatic passports of former U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa David Huebner and his spouse, Duane McWaine. Several other recent donations will be included such as: images from photographer Patsy Lynch, who's work documents several decades of the struggle for LGBT civil rights; a full run of the newsletter, The Drag Rag by LGBT historian and activist Mark Meinke; and 86 photographs from Cuban American photographer Silvia Ros who has documented the LGBT community for more than a decade. 

The museum officially accepted the objects into its collections at a donation ceremony. Attendees included Huebner and McWaine; Will & Grace creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick; flag designer Monica Helms; Washington, D.C., photographer Patsy Lynch; Florida photographer Silvia Ros; Mark Meinke, LGBT historian and activist; and representatives from donor organizations: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland and the DC Cowboys.  

These donations join the museum's collections of more than 3 million objects and archival materials. The museum's LGBT collections date back to the 19th century. Objects in the collections include a selection of protest signs from gay civil rights activist Frank Kameny, materials relating to the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, Billie Jean King's tennis dress and HIV and AIDS-related lab equipment and medications. The archival collections are rich in ephemera, oral histories, photographs, posters and entertainment publicity materials. The museum has also collected materials that express opposition to LGBT issues, including protest posters associated with the Westboro Baptist Church, a copy of The Anita Bryant Story and materials in opposition to gay marriage. 




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