Leather Archives celebrates 25 years

CHICAGO — The Leather Archives & Museum celebrated 25 years of preserving history this past weekend with a two-day event at the Archives.

Catherine Gross was the emcee for Friday night with Jon Krongaard serving as emcee on the second night. Speakers in the evenings included original LAM board member Gayle Rubin, Trevor Jacques, executive director Rick Storer, archivist Jakob VanLammeren and founder Chuck Renslow.

A new documentary about the LAM, “By the People: 25 Years of Community Archiving at Leather Archives & Museum” directed by Christina Court, had its world premier on Friday night followed by a Q&A with Christina, Rick, Gayle, Jacob and archive interns.

Major donations were made by Leather SINS from the northern suburbs of Chicago, who gave $33,000, and the Palatinus Charitable Trust of Massachusetts, who gave $25,000. And for fun, Chicago educator and Illinois Ms. Leather Pride 2016 hosted a game of Leather Jeopardy.

Each of the speakers talked about the need for the Archives to continue to grow, with a focus on professional staff such as managing and processing archivists and a curator. Chuck also reminded the audience that the Archives will need to find a new home within the next ten years. Already the Archives is packed with materials including letters, club records, clothing, artifacts and publications.

All photos by Ruff Wray

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