A Central Pennsylvania LGBT community center has been working on an LGBT history project for nearly two years and, earlier this month, the hard work finally paid off.
The LGBT Center of Central PA History Project received the 2014 J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award. The award is given by the Society of American Archivists and honors institutions, individuals and organizations that promote public awareness and appreciation of archives.
Organizations of National History Day also received the Jameson award, and the pair, along with other scholarship and award winners, will be honored next month at a Washington, D.C., awards ceremony.
The history project started as an assignment of the center’s Aging with Pride Initiative, which sought to collect stories about LGBT history from Central Pennsylvania. The project features personal stories, written accounts and video interviews, as well as photographs, documents and artifacts that support the stories.
The center worked in collaboration with the Dickinson College Archives in Carlisle, which receives, catalogs, stores and publicizes the archival materials and artifacts donated to the project for researchers and the public.
Dickinson College special-collections librarian Malinda Triller Doran said the college got involved in the project, which began in August 2012, last summer.
Last fall, the library hosted an exhibit reception to encourage people to donate materials to the LGBT History Project, which they will stage again this fall.
“We brought together those who were interested in the project and showed what things we are collecting and donating,” she said. “We want to create more awareness of what we are doing here.”
The collection runs the gamut — newspaper clippings, newsletters from various activist and LGBT organizations, posters, event buttons, trophies from a local LGBT volleyball team, books and gay bar memorabilia such as T-shirts, matchbook covers and napkins.
Organizers, which include project chair Barry Loveland and center executive director Louie Marven, plan to develop the exhibit into a traveling one, so it can be on display at the center and throughout the region.
Doran said it is an honor to be recognized by the SAA, of which she is a member.
“This is something that is very important to us. We’ve been working hard,” she said. “To be a part of this and recognized for helping document a portion of history that might otherwise be lost makes me proud.”
In a press release, the SAA said the award committee appreciated the center’s efforts to collaborate, as well as its multi-media approach, which includes website access.
For more information on the project, visit www.centralpalgbtcenter.org/lgbt-history-project.