Monday, December 22, 2008

News from the Leather Archives & Museum

2008 The Year In Review
What a year this has been!

The Leather Archives & Museum would like to share with you some of the accomplishments we have made - through your support!

Leather History on the Web!

In 2008 the LA&M demonstrated its commitment to making leather and fetish history accessible around the world by creating digital content. In addition to using its own institutional website, we utilized online services such as YouTube!, LiveJournal, MySpace and Facebook to make electronic historical resources available. The LA&M continues to seek opportunities to make digital history available online.

The LA&M Road Show In 2008 the LA&M continued and expanded its Road Show. In addition to mounting exhibitions at over 15 events in 11 different cities, the Road Show introduced a new traveling exhibit titled "Four Perspectives on Leather History". This exhibit has been greeted with success as Patrons learn about Benjamin Franklin's kinky persuasions, see some amazing Bettie Page photos and dig into the details of a steel collar belonging to very influential New York media mogul.

Conservation Assessment Report Through a grant provided by the Heritage Preservation Society's Conservation Assessment Program (CAP), a conservator conducted a 2 day analysis of the LA&M's collections in late 2007. In 2008, the LA&M received the end result of the project, the report. This report prioritizes future conservation projects that will benefit our collections. The LA&M has begun using this report as a basis to seek grant opportunities to address the projects that were highlighted.

The Etienne Auditorium In 2008 the LA&M continued to make its 164 seat auditorium available to sex positive and GLBT organizations to hold film screenings, fundraisers, performance art pieces, meetings and other events. The LA&M is proud to make this space available as a resource for organizations in Chicago and the Midwest. 2008 events included the Midwest premiere of the film "Watch Out", a staged reading of "Torch Song Trilogy", the Pantheon of Leather Awards, and community discussions related to the Consent Counts project.

GAGallery In 2008 the LA&M relaunched its guest artist gallery as the GAGallery. Curator S.I.R. mounted two shows in this space during 2008. In April, "YES" featured young artists views on fetish and sexuality through mixed medium pieces. In October, "_ask" displays masks in fetish and erotic contexts.

Fireside Chats The LA&M continued its program of "taking oral histories to the next level" through its Fireside Chat. LA&M oral history guru Doug O'Keeffe organized "A Fireside Chat with Mr. Marcus" and "A Fireside Chat with Chuck Renslow". Both events were very well attended. Audio from these interviews can be found on the LA&M website.

Development Director In 2008 the LA&M increased its staff from 2 to 3 with the addition of a development director. This position was created to expand the base of LA&M funding through grants, sponsorship, endowments and diversify the portfolio of support behind the preservation of fetish history and culture.

Resource Center for Exciting Research The LA&M continues to provide resources to a variety of patrons through distance and onsite research. In 2008 the public broadcasting station in Chicago (WTTW) aired a documentary about Chicago's gay history, utilizing many of the artifacts and resources at the LA&M. 2008 also saw the publication of the book "Greetings From the Gayborhood : A Look Back at the Golden Age of Gay Neighborhoods" by Don Reuter which features many resources from the LA&M collections. These are just two of the many research needs filled by the unique collections of the LA&M.
We cannot say thank you enough to all of you for the support you have given the Leather Archives and Museum. Please know, that it is appreciated.

We have lots of ideas for 2009 and are looking forward to seeing what the year will bring.

Happy Holidays to Everyone!!!
Sincerely,The LA&M Staff

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