History is very important and powerful. In a way, if you’re not remembered, you don’t exist.”
— Martha Brockman
Gay & Lesbian Community Coalition of Central Massachusetts, 1993
Established in 2018, the Worcester LGBTQ+ History Project seeks to understand more fully our past and the possibilities for our collective future by collecting, preserving, and making accessible Worcester’s queer history.
The Worcester LGBTQ+ History Project emerged from a 2017 conversation between Bill Wallace (WHM Executive Director) and Stephanie Yuhl (Professor of History, College of the Holy Cross), who served as the project lead. Timed to connect with international commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in 2019, the project aimed to diversify and complicate Worcester’s historical record, to engage broader publics and museum audiences, and to foreground how historical understanding is imperative for the work of social justice. Yuhl and Wallace invited local scholars, Professors Joseph Cullon (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) and Robert Tobin (Clark University), to join the research and leadership team. Working with a community advisory board comprised of local LGBTQ+ residents, as well as WHM staff and area college student researchers, the team partnered with the community to develop a physical and digital archive, oral history project, museum exhibit (April-November 2019), exhibit catalog, varied community programming, and interactive digital exhibits.
The most important contributions, of course, have come from Worcester’s queer community members who have generously shared their stories, artifacts, and time, making history then and now.
We invite you to explore the project pages below and to consider sharing your story.
The Worcester LGBTQ+ History Project and Worcester Historical Museum thank the following institutions for their financial support: