Curated by high school students, exhibition culminates four-month research project to foster and share understanding of LGBTQ history
[May 22, 2019] Brooklyn, NY— Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) is pleased to announce the opening of A Queer Look at Brooklyn, an LGBTQ-focused exhibition researched and curated by high school students in BHS’ Spring 2019 Teen Council internship program. On view from May 30, 2019 through May 2020, this exhibition focuses on the evolution of LGBTQ experiences from the 19th century to present day through the lens of struggle, privilege, and acceptance.
A Queer Look at Brooklyn is broken down into four panels which explore how themes of community, gentrification, and advocacy have historically affected Brooklyn’s queer experience. Beginning with an examination of Walt Whitman’s veiled articulation of his own sexuality in comparison to the later experiences of Crown Heights’ inclusive community at Starlite Lounge, the LGBTQ call for change in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, and the artistic and politically driven DUMBA Collective, this exhibition considers the ways race, class and gender have shaped LGBTQ expression over time.
A Queer Look at Brooklyn complements Brooklyn Historical Society’s groundbreaking On the (Queer) Waterfront, the first exhibition to focus explicitly on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer history of Brooklyn, which is currently on display at BHS’ Pierrepont location. While On the (Queer) Waterfront centers queer history along Brooklyn’s waterfront from the 1800s to through World War II, A Queer Look at Brooklyn emphasizes queer history throughout the borough over the last half century.
This exhibition is researched, written, and curated by 21 high school students representing diverse backgrounds, neighborhoods, grade levels, and schools across New York City. Students spent four months researching and writing content for A Queer Look at Brooklyn before debuting their work to the public. Their research process included using resources at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library, listening to oral histories from BHS’ collections, and conducting intergenerational interviews for first-hand accounts. In addition to sharpening their research and writing skills, students gained invaluable experience by developing new relationships with peers as well as mentors, and expanding their historical point of view. The four-month curation process began in February 2019 and culminates with the unveiling of A Queer Look at Brooklyn during an opening reception at Brooklyn Historical Society on Wednesday, May 29 at 5:30pm. This event is free and open to the public.
Now in its third year, Teen Council is Brooklyn Historical Society’s after-school internship program for New York City teens. By focusing on timely topics affecting marginalized communities, Teen Council creates an opportunity for youth involvement in telling repressed stories and preserving history. Teen Council is one of several education-focused initiatives from Brooklyn Historical Society which aim to enhance education outside of school curriculum and assist future generations in bridging the gap between the past, present and future.
Teen Council members gain resume-worthy experience that will offers a leg up for competitive summer and senior year internships, and exposure to careers in museums, archives, informal education, public history, and more. All students involved in the program are compensated with a stipend, letters of recommendation for college and scholarships, and credit/volunteer hours toward graduation where applicable.
Teen Council at Brooklyn Historical Society is generously supported by the Pinkerton Foundation, the Michael Tuch Foundation, Inc. and the Ferriday Fund Charitable Trust. Additional support is provided by BHS education funders: Hearst Foundation, Con Edison, the Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, the Sterling National Bank Charitable Foundation, the Kinder Morgan Foundation, and Investors Foundation. Programs are also made possible by the New York Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and are supported, in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council.
A Queer Look at Brooklyn will be on display at Brooklyn Historical Society (128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, NY), from May 30, 2019 until May 2020. BHS is open to the public Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. Suggested admission is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors and teachers, and free for members, veterans/military personnel, and students of all ages.
About Brooklyn Historical Society
Founded in 1863, Brooklyn Historical Society is a nationally recognized urban history center dedicated to preserving and encouraging the study of Brooklyn's extraordinary 400-year history. Located in Brooklyn Heights and housed in a magnificent landmark building designed by George Post and opened in 1881, today's BHS is a cultural hub for civic dialogue, thoughtful engagement and community outreach. In May 2017 BHS opened a second site in DUMBO’s Brooklyn Bridge Park.