In a moderated conversation with Northwestern University professor Bill Savage and special guest Dan Savage, Out in Chicago co-curators Jill Austin and Jennifer Brier share their experiences developing the exhibition, which closed March 26, 2012. Within the walls of a mainstream, public history space like the Chicago History Museum, they dared to declare that LGBT history is woven into the very fabric of Chicago history itself. So, just how queer could the city’s oldest cultural institution get?
As curatorial partners who collaborated for three years to create Out, Austin and Brier talk about what was possible—and what wasn’t. They will share examples of stories they felt they could do justice to and ones they couldn’t, reflecting on what they saw they did well and what they felt they did not complete. They explore what can happen when themes such as diversity, identity, privacy, and the struggles of urban life relating to LGBT people, as they emerged from both the collection vaults of history and from the streets of our contemporary communities, to queue up for curatorial interpretation a gallery experience available to broader visitors at large. We’ll hear from them—and then get audience feedback as Out at CHM takes on Out in Chicago.