Several campus groups began a project last year to collect and archive information related to the LGBTQ experience at Virginia Tech

Beginning Saturday, Oct. 10, an exhibit, “Sharing Our Voices: A Celebration of the Virginia Tech LGBTQ Oral History Project,” will feature archives, interviews, images, films, and a new web archive highlighting LGBTQ history.

The exhibit will be open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 10 and from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 12 in Newman Library’s Multipurpose Room and in Special Collections at 560 Drillfield Drive in Blacksburg. Throughout October, a digital exhibit and book display outside the Multipurpose Room will allow visitors to access the new web archive, view materials from the archive, and browse LGBTQ-related books available from Newman Library.

The University Archives of the University Libraries began an archive at the request of the Ex Lapide Alumni Society, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer alumni network at Virginia Tech, which sought to document the history of the LGBTQ experience at Virginia Tech.

Beginning in the fall of 2014, David Cline, assistant professor of history and director of the Graduate Certificate in Public History, and his students began collecting oral histories to document LGBTQ life in the south during the 20th century, specifically at Virginia Tech. 

Additional interviews were collected by Tamara Kennelly, university archivist at the University Libraries, and Megan Lee Myklegard of Ocala, Florida, a junior majoring in marketing management in the Pamplin College of Business. Myklegard received an Atlantic Coast Conference Creativity and Innovation Grant to collect and transcribe nine interviews. A total of 34 interviews have been collected.

A new web archive created by Adrienne Serra, technical archivist for Special Collections in the University Libraries, features full text and sound of the interviews, along with images, historical materials, and a timeline of significant events in LGBTQ history at Virginia Tech. The new site uses Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) to enhance access to the oral histories, providing word-level search capability and allowing users to move from the index to the corresponding moment of the recorded interview online.

The exhibit in Newman Library will showcase digital screens with materials related to the project and to the interviewees for the oral history project, the new web archive, materials from the LGBTQ history at Virginia Tech timeline, and a display in Special Collections.

Several videos and films will be displayed, including the 1986 AIDS Conference held at Virginia Tech, the short film “It’s Reigning Queens in Appalachia” by Carol Burch-Brown, professor of studio art and creative technology in the School of Visual Arts, and a short film by Myklegard highlighting the oral histories she collected through the ACC grant.

The exhibit also features a chemical magic show, a student slideshow, and images from campus groups, including HokiePRIDE, oSTEM, Queer People of Color (QPOC), and the LGBT Faculty/Staff Caucus.

A display in Special Collections will also be open to show archival materials and books relating to the LGBTQ experience or created by individuals who identify as LGBTQ.

Free parking is available on weekends and after 5 p.m. weekdays at the Squires Student Center and Architecture Annex lots along Otey Street. Find more parking information online, or call 540-231-3200. If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Tamara Kennelly at 540-231-9214 during regular business hours prior to the event.

Share this story