Washington, DC – The Names Project Foundation (NPF) announced on November 20th that the National AIDS Memorial will become the new caretaker of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and Names Project programs.
As part of the transition, the Names Project and the National AIDS Memorial have agreed to jointly gift care and stewardship of the quilt’s archival collections to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, making this collection available through the world’s largest public library. “The Library of Congress is proud to serve as the home of the National AIDS Memorial Quilt Archive to preserve its legacy and give the memorial a home on both the East Coast and West Coast,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “The quilt and its archive – including letters, photographs, and personal mementos – help to humanize and demonstrate the scale of the AIDS pandemic in a powerful way while honoring the lives lost.” Also speaking were House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman John Lewis, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee.
This historic decision will return the quilt to the San Francisco Bay Area, where 32 years ago during the height of the AIDS epidemic, a group of strangers gathered at a San Francisco storefront to remember the names and lives of their loved ones they feared history would forget – and with that seemingly simple act of love and defiance, the first panels of the quilt were created. “This is the culmination of decades of work that achieves a vision long held by the Names Project leadership who, armed with an unwavering commitment to the quilt, were determined to see that the AIDS Memorial Quilt would stand the test of time,” said Julie Rhoad, head of the Names Project Foundation. “With this set of new caretakers, we are confident that the legacy of the quilt and the Names Project is secure.”
Since 1987, the Names Project Foundation has cared for the quilt and its associated archives. Headquartered in Atlanta since 2001, as the caretakers of this memorial and vast cultural archives, it has been dedicated to the mission of remembrance, education and conscience. The announcement is the culmination of long-term planning and vision to seek new institutional partners to care for the quilt, and in doing so, secure not only the legacy of The quilt, but its ability to teach for generations to come.
The quilt and its programs, which include display activities, panel making, conservation, and public education efforts, will transition to the National AIDS Memorial in early 2020, and become an essential component of a “Center for Social Conscience” that the National AIDS Memorial plans to build in the coming years, which will be grounded in the story of the AIDS epidemic, social justice, action and change.
More information about the AIDS Memorial Quilt and today’s announcement can be found at www.AIDSmemorial.org and Loc.gov. (National AIDS Memorial press release)