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 2019-01-16
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Chicago History Museum unveils LGBT exhibit
by Joseph Erbentraut, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

      More Photos

"It's not every day I get to design a show with a disco ball, black bra and a motorcycle," revealed Chicago History Museum ( CHM ) senior designer Dan Oliver as his latest creation—the museum's "Out in Chicago" exhibition—was unveiled at a preview party May 20.

The exhibition, as previewed in the May 18 edition of Windy City Times, tells the story of Chicago's LGBT community against the backdrop of the city's development over the past century and a half.

Exhibition co-curators Jill Austin and Jennifer Brier developed Out in Chicago over the course of just over three years. Brier described watching the exhibit anew through the lens of those who came to see it as "amazing."

Particularly poignant, she added, was the attendance of many of the LGBT Chicagoans who themselves play a critical role in the exhibit through videotaped interview segments that are a part of "In the Life," one of its four main sections. Memorable interviews feature long-time community activists including Chuck Renslow and Kim Hunt, participants in the School of Opulence and many others.

"Seeing it through their eyes made every fear I had about the exhibit, every thought that we hadn't done well vanish," Brier said.

The exhibition is rich with a wide swath of content carrying forth many of the ideas discussed through the Out at CHM series, an annual selection of programs held at the museum since 2004 that Brier and Austin also help put on. It is said to be the first exhibition geared toward LGBT communities to be put on by a mainstream urban history museum.

Besides "In the Life," which addressed how LGBT Chicagoans made homes and formed a variety of relationships and families, the other sections touched on how queer people presented themselves to the outside world, created social spaces and over time became a vulnerable political force within the city.

While the exhibition offers no shortage of content, Brier acknowledged there are still many more stories to be told regarding the development of queer Chicago as we know it today. In the last section of the exhibition is a booth where visitors can record their own stories. Videos from the booth as well as a number of materials that did not make the cut for inclusion in the exhibition will be shared over its Facebook page ( ) in the coming months.

"We hope that we have done justice to the stories and that when we have not, people will do what LGBT Chicagoans have long known how to do: Tell us what we got wrong and record their stories so future generations of queer historians can learn about their lives, love and struggle," Brier said.

"People should think about coming a couple of times because it's a big exhibit and there's a lot to learn and a lot to read," she added.

Also on hand at the opening was one of the exhibition's three honorary chairs, chef Art Smith, who formerly served as personal chef to Oprah Winfrey and co-founded Common Threads, a non-profit organization intended to educate children about other cultures through food and art.

Neither of the other honorary chairs—actor Jane Lynch and writer-activist Dan Savage—was able to attend, although Savage's brother, Bill, spoke on his behalf.

Entertaining attendees at the event were DJ Charlie and FurrLesque, who offered up a titillating three-song performance. The next day, numerous groups, including the Lakeside Pride Band, entertained the crowds. Members of the Dykes on Bikes drove en masse to the museum.

Several speakers addressed the opening night gala as well as a ribbon-cutting held earlier that day. Gary T. Johnson, CHM's president, welcomed the exhibit as an important step for all of Chicago.

James L. Alexander, co-trustee of The Elizabeth Morse and Genius Charitable Trusts, was a force behind the Out at CHM series at its birth, and he has been a critical supporter of the efforts ever since. He, too, welcomed the opening as a historic day for Chicago. Others who spoke included Anita Medina Tyson, managing director of the JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., co-trustee of The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust; Suzanne Connor, senior program officer for arts and culture for The Chicago Community Trust; John W. McGowan, senior vice president, Northern Trust, the lead corporate sponsor of the exhibit; and Karen Sendziak, president of Gerber/Hart Library and Archives.

The exhibition will run through March 26, 2012. Visit to learn more. See more photos from the opening at .

—Also contributing: Tracy Baim

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg 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.


The Rest of It, Hustlers, Cocaine... 1976-1988 2019-01-09
Novelist's fascination with history comes alive on stage 2019-01-09
Two LGBTQ Senators, Eight LGBTQ Reps Sworn In, Most Diverse Congress History 2019-01-03
'My Fair Lady.' 'Brokeback' added to film registry 2018-12-21
Gerber/Hart unveils AIDS-awareness stamps 2018-12-17
'Activists and Icons' at Holocaust Museum through June 23 2018-12-12
Event focuses on revolutionary Cuban punk-rock band 2018-12-05
Historians looking for survey participants 2018-12-05
N.Y. center starts Stonewall project 2018-12-05
National Black Justice Coalition on Impact of HIV/AIDS Epidemic on Black communities 2018-11-29
Remembering Harvey Milk 2018-11-28
Illinois marks five years of marriage equality 2018-11-27
Exhibit opening marks Chicago's history of diversity in drag 2018-11-21
AIDS Awareness Stamps Exhibit and Presentation Dec. 13 2018-11-20
NATIONAL Mich. lawsuit, Michelle Obama, Harvey Milk, gay teen politician 2018-11-20
AVER hosts 26th annual Veterans Day dinner 2018-11-12
Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles to honor Stonewall, LGBTQ history 2018-11-09
Late gay artist's identity, politics intersect at MoCP 2018-11-07
Jared Polis Elected First Openly Gay Governor in U.S. History 2018-11-06
Black Panther art exhibit now open 2018-11-05
MOMBIAN Children's and YA books on LGBTQ history 2018-10-31
LGBT HISTORY Tea With No Shade 2018-10-31
LGBT HISTORY San Francisco trans cultural district slowly moves forward 2018-10-31
Marsha P. Johnson Institute GoFundMe page started 2018-10-31
Marge Summit to receive Jon-Henri Damski Award Nov. 4 2018-10-31
LGBT HISTORY Legendary Maurice Hines talks seven decades of keeping toes tapping 2018-10-29
LGBT HISTORY Frances Kellor and the Birth of Multiculturalism 2018-10-29
Treasurer's office observes LGBT History Month 2018-10-24
Corporate LGBT groups host 'LGBTQ Movement: Then and Now' 2018-10-24
50 Years On, Busting the Myths of Stonewall 2018-10-23
The Emma Jones Society Convention, largest LGBT gathering in country 2018-10-23
Trans Israeli activist Ofer Erez on making IDF history, Open House role 2018-10-17
Center on Halsted hosts Orlando Traveling Memorial 2018-10-17
Matthew Shepard's murder revisited 2018-10-17
'LGBTQ Movement, Then and Now' Oct. 18 2018-10-17
In LGBT History, Unlikely Gay Rights Advocate America's First Equality Governor 2018-10-16
Lesbian Erasure, Defining Lesbianism Part One 2018-10-16
Podcast "Making Gay History" Premieres Oct. 25, Explores Movement Pre-Stonewall 2018-10-16
Smithsonian Receives Matthew Shepard Collection 2018-10-16
New Boystown Legacy Walk plaques unveiled 2018-10-15

Copyright © 2019 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.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos 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 produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.