Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-08-05
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Chicago History Museum set to open 'Out in Chicago'
by Joseph Erbentraut, Windy City Times
2011-05-18

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


This revealing new exhibition at the Chicago History Museum represents the culmination of three years of research and development by museum curator Jill Austin and guest curator Jennifer Brier. Image courtesy of the Chicago History Museum.

From the start of the Chicago History Museum's popular 'Out at CHM' LGBT history-centric series—which happened eight years ago—museum curator Jill Austin and guest curator Jennifer Brier knew the series would one day form the basis of an exhibition. With the unveiling of "Out in Chicago" this Saturday, May 21, that goal has become a reality.

Weaving the history of Chicago's LGBT communities into the broader patchwork of the last 150-plus years of the city's development, "Out in Chicago" is the result of more than three years of research and development by Austin and Brier. Divided into four distinct sections, the exhibition is arranged thematically rather than chronologically, progressing from "the individual unit to the family unit to communal units to the political unit," according to Brier.

The first section is kicked off by a unique historical document, printed in 1856: A handwritten ordinance outlawing crossdressing in the city which represented a true gem of a find to Brier.

"It's an incredible thing that city officials at the time were as concerned with regulating crossdressing as they were with where you bathed or tied up your horses," she told Windy City Times.

In addition to providing insight into how gender-variant individuals lived in the mid-19th century, the ordinance, which reportedly ignited quite a bit of backlash, sets the stage for the city's ongoing reputation as a cultural crossroads where LGBT people access their visibility at least partially through their dress.

"Over the course of Chicago's history, the city has been a place where people have been able to take on, both temporarily and permanently through clothing, different ways of expressing themselves that do not necessarily accrue to their biological sex," Brier added.

The second section brings the focus to LGBT people forming families through the years and features a dozen videos depicting the stories of many present-day Chicagoans. Their stories, Brier noted, challenge the notion of gay Chicago as a community geographically limited to Andersonville and Boystown.

Also included in the section is an item Austin noted as a particular item: A letter Noble Peace Prize winner and Hull House founder Jane Addams penned to her nephew, asking him to burn some "personal and intimate" letters written to her longtime companion and romantic friend, Mary Rozet Smith.

"Jane's sexuality and relationships have always been protected by different people in the city and it's something we felt was very important to address within that idea of making homes and families and the way you could be and love at that time," Austin said.

The third section sheds light on the origins of the city's queer communities' creation of social and communal spaces, most notably the history of bar culture and entertainment spaces and the impact law enforcement sometimes made on those spaces. The story travels from Gertrude "Ma" Rainey's raucous blues gatherings in Bronzeville in the 1920s to the development of the Levee red-light district ( near the intersection of Cermak Road and Michigan Avenue ) and the controversial 1985 police raid of Carol's Speakeasy, then a Near North Side bar.

The exhibition then concludes with a section focused on the emergence of openly LGBT people participating in the political realm and, an artifact Austin said was among her favorites, a motorcycle on display from the city's Dykes on Bikes contingent which provides "a powerful note on which to end."

The section also predominately features the story of Chicago Gay History Project creator Gregory Sprague who Brier noted collected "some of the most amazing oral histories I've listened to" before he succumbed to AIDS in 1987.

Both Austin and Brier admitted it was a difficult task to whittle the exhibition's content down and that there was at least another exhibit's worth of artifacts and stories that could have just as easily been a part of the upcoming show.

"We recognize that there are stories that still need to be told," Brier said, "and we hope to inspire people to do that."

The exhibition, which will be on display through March 25, 2012, is considered to be the first mainstream urban history museum's specific take on LGBT histories and will also form the basis of a forthcoming book of essays edited by Austin and Brier. The exhibition will be unveiled during a special preview party, featuring cocktails, a performance by FurrLesque and music by DJ Charlie, on Friday, May 20, at the museum, 1601 N. Clark.

For more information on the exhibition, visit http://www.chicagohistory.org/outinchicago.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

MWRD recognizes Juneteenth as holiday 2020-08-07
Illinois Legislative Black Caucus mourns loss of two civil-rights leaders 2020-07-25
Columbus statues removed from Grant Park, Little Italy 2020-07-24
Buff Carmichael talks downstate activism 2020-07-22
Civil-rights icon Congressman John Lewis dies at 80 2020-07-18
Chicago Marathon cancelled for second time in history 2020-07-13
New honorees named for Nat'l LGBTQ Wall of Honor at Stonewall Inn 2020-06-30
Mapping the Gay Guides project plots queer spaces, launches digital map 2020-06-26
Memories of Pride 2020-06-24
Downstate activist Buff Carmichael talks husband, the Prairie Flame 2020-06-24
PODCASTS 'A Queer Serial' delves into LGBTQ history 2020-06-24
Leaders in LGBTQ history documentation, interpretation, outreach create fact sheet 2020-06-23
Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame selection committee to meet 2020-06-22
Lightfoot, Ross, Nasim among LGBT History Month icons 2020-06-15
June 23 program to look at Jewish LGBTQ+ historical figures 2020-06-10
NATIONAL Harvey Milk, trans woman killed, 'Queer the Census,' NYC Pride 2020-05-18
Billie Jean King, LGBTQ icon talks Chicago ties, tennis, out athletes 2020-05-13
BOOKS New book explores life of astronomer-turned-activist Kameny 2020-05-12
NEIU adds footage to Japanese-American Redress Collection 2020-05-05
Professor receives honor named after local LGBTQ historian 2020-04-28
'10% Show' panel talk on April 30 2020-04-27
Virtual talk on Chicago's gay history April 27 2020-04-24
BOOK REVIEW An Indefinite Sentence: A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex 2020-04-15
Historians seek responses from LGBTQ people 2020-04-06
Chicago History Museum to search for new president 2020-03-25
ELECTIONS 2020 Biden takes Illinois; trans candidate makes history 2020-03-17
Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame postpones upcoming events 2020-03-17
Hull-House events suspended through April 15; museum still open 2020-03-13
National Museum of Mexican Art postpones March public events 2020-03-12
Holocaust Museum cancels March 12 dinner 2020-03-11
LGBT Hall of Fame seeks selection committee members 2020-03-10
Women's History Month events planned at Chicago's Feminist Bookstore 2020-03-04
Darrow ceremony, symposium to mark 125th anniversary of speech on social justice 2020-02-27
'Art after Stonewall' at Columbus, Ohio, museum 2020-02-25
ELECTIONS 2020 JUDICIAL Transgender attorney Jill Rose Quinn on judicial race, making history 2020-02-25
Exhibit examines works of refugee, immigrant writers 2020-02-19
SocialWorks' Black History Month Film Festival through March 1 2020-02-19
Panel talks lesbians, feminism in Chicago during the '70s and '80s 2020-02-19
ELECTIONS 2020 JUDGES (COGHLAN VACANCY) James Derico Jr. on current judgeship, church, LGBTQ history 2020-02-19
At 20 years of The Laramie Project, call goes out for submissions 2020-02-13
 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.