Sunday, November 13, 2011

Archiving the History of an Epidemic: HIV and AIDS, 1985-2009

Where: National Museum of American History

When: through November 1, 2011

The closing date for this exhibit changed since I went to see it - glad I went when I did, as it's over now.  I saw this display the same day that I saw the AIDS Quilt Panel - they obviously go together.

This is another display by the archives section of the museum - I do enjoy going to see these, as I'm usually the only one there.  To find a haven amidst the hustle and bustle of this popular institution is marvelous.

The exhibit highlights two oral histories, one by Justin-Manuel Andriote, who interviewed 200 people for his 1999 book about AIDS and the way that it changed gay life and the other by Carol Burch Benson, who interviewed patrons of a gay bar in Bluefield, WV.  It's a powerful little exhibit - a picture of an era, and it's a shame that more people didn't have the opportunity to see it.  I'm not sure why this show and the AIDS Quilt Panel weren't put together, but I'm sure there's a good reason for that.   

Verdict: Well worth the time to look at this exhibit and reflect on how fortunate we are that the epidemic is far more manageable in the United States today than it was twenty years ago.

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