This Pride, we interviewed The History Project (THP): a nonprofit focused on documenting and preserving the history of New England’s LGBTQ communities.
Friday, June 30, 2023
We're switching things up! For this month's Pride Month newsletter, we interviewed The History Project (THP): a nonprofit focused on documenting and preserving the history of New England’s LGBTQ communities. With roots stretching back to 1980, The History Project maintains one of the largest independent LGBTQ archives in the nation.
(The Massachusetts Service Alliance recently supported The History Project with a mini-grant from our fourth round of COVID-19 funding, focused on supporting volunteer engagement.)
With a staff of two, The History Project is a community and volunteer-driven nonprofit. This past month, volunteers were key in reaching out to the community: "Some volunteers marched in Boston Pride for the People," said Joan Ilacqua, the executive director of THP, "while others tabled at community events like Trans Resistance and at local colleges and breweries. Outreach is a huge part of our effort to document, preserve, and share LGBTQ+ history, and volunteers are a huge part of making our Pride month a success."
Many of THP's volunteers are from the LGBTQ community themselves, and volunteer to find connections with other queer people — and themselves. "When you're part of a community whose stories aren't taught in schools," Ilacqua explained, "and your experience is different from that of your parents, family, or peers, finding a way to connect to the community's historical legacy and culture is a really important way to learn more about yourself. A lot of our volunteers, whether youth, adults, or elders, work with The History Project to keep making that connection."
So, beyond June outreach, what do volunteers at The History Project do?
"Our volunteer projects vary based on the interests of volunteers and our needs," said Ilacqua. "Most recently, some really wonderful volunteers helped us to catalog and arrange our collections in our new office space. They took photos of our art, ephemera, and banner collections so that we can plan for how best to store and preserve these materials. We have some youth volunteers now helping us to organize and share our oral history collections. They're also doing interviews to continue collecting and preserving the stories of the LGBTQ+ community."
“All of the efforts volunteers make to ensure that our stories, experiences, and legacy are preserved, are so essential. We are so grateful for our volunteers' support year round."
If you'd like to learn more about volunteering with The History Project, visit the archives, or make a monetary or collections donation, check out historyproject.org or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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