An old Cher concert ticket, a Hummers softball schedule or a photo of an early Pride gathering could be things the Missouri History Museum is willing to take off your hands.
“Sometimes the thing you think is least important is something we don’t have,” says Sharon Smith, curator of civic and personal identity at the museum.
“I think there are things that are hiding, like Earring Magic Ken,” she says. Yes, Barbie’s beau, dressed in lavender, is part of the Missouri History Museum’s collections, including its new virtual exhibit, “Gateway to Pride.”
The project focusing on gay and lesbian history here, initially planned for the museum’s atrium, is now online due to pandemic-related issues.
The online event is, in part, a way to raise awareness of the museum’s desire for artifacts and St. Louis stories. And it’s a precursor to a larger exhibition planned for 2024.
“Is there some way you want to add to the story?” Smith says of what local residents should consider. Talking recently with reporters via Zoom, she explained that the virtual exhibit reaches out to LGBTQIA+ communities, while also showing off just a few of hundreds of items the museum already has.
Buttons about AIDS, flags from PrideFest and a guide for gay travelers (like the Green Book used by African Americans) are all part of “Gateway to Pride.”
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