For the past two years the Calgary Gay History Project has been dutifully collecting donations from community members to build a local gay history archive. The collection is diverse: we have publications, books, organization documents, news clipping, audio tapes, video tapes, clothing, buttons and other ephemera that represents the history of the LGBTQ community in Calgary.
We recently over two Sunday’s catalogued all of the donations to date. “Archive blitz days” we called them, and it proved to be a huge but rewarding task. Now we have a simple but searchable database, which already has proved helpful in solving research queries related to our history.
The long-term home for the archives, will be in one of our Calgary collecting institutions, such as the Glenbow Museum, the University of Calgary or Mount Royal University – we have been in conversation with all three. However in the meantime, while the gay history book is written, the collection is slowly filling up Kevin Allen’s apartment.
If you have something that might be of interest to the Calgary Gay History Archive, please contact us. We will take just about everything as well as pick it up from your home. A few times, we have heard:
“I just threw out those old things a few months ago, because I did not think anyone would want them…”
This brings tears to our eyes!
If you are saving treasures you are not ready to donate, that is fine too. Let us know about them, and we will keep you apprised of where the gay history archive collection ends up. You may want to contribute to the archive later down the road or contribute to it as part of your estate planning.
The archive is a treasure which will become even more valuable to historians in the decades to come. Please consider donating to it.