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Exhibit: Sewn in Memory: AIDS Quilt Panels from Central Illinois

The Sewn in Memory: AIDS Quilt Panels from Central Illinois exhibit will display approximately 20 quilt panels that were made for the national AIDS Memorial Quilt in the 1980s and early 1990s. They commemorate local people who passed away from AIDS and were created by friends and families. The panels are held by the Greater Community AIDS Project of East Central Illinois. Research and programming for this exhibit is in collaboration with Greater Community AIDS Project (GCAP) and History Harvest, a class in the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

About our Partners

Greater Community AIDS Project of East Central Illinois (GCAP)

To empower the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS and to help eliminate the spread of the disease, GCAP collaborates with local resources and organizations to serve its community by providing educational outreach to the public and by providing support to those who are living with HIV/AIDS in the form of transitional housing, emergency financial assistance and other services.

GCAP is deeply indebted to community leaders in the early and mid-1980s who formed the Gay Community AIDS Project with the foresight and energy to realize that sweeping HIV/AIDS under the table was not the answer. There is now a generation of people who learned about the disease from the efforts of GCAP. Today, GCAP is as committed as ever and has expanded its original purpose. While some of the demographics of the disease have changed, we are still a community.

GCAP's official website lists more information, events, and volunteer opportunities.

History Harvest

History Harvest is a collaborative public history project in which students engage with members of the public to collect and digitize documents and artifacts of historical interest for scholarly and community research. Originally developed at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, History Harvest engages with individuals, communities and institutions to digitize important historical documents for community and scholarly use in history projects that sometimes only these materials can illuminate, which you can read more about at the History Harvest at University of Nebraska-Lincoln's website. At harvest events, students digitize materials brought by community collaborators, record oral histories about the significance of those materials, and collect information to serve as metadata for a digital collection. In the weeks that follow, students edit and upload their materials to a digital site, and prepare exhibits based on further public collaboration, research, and connections between materials. The History Department at the University of Illinois has offered two such courses, in Fall 2019 and Spring 2021, both of which involved collaborations with the C-U LGBTQIA+ community.

You can read about History Harvest and the C-U LGBTQIA+ community at the History Harvest at the University of Illinois's website.

Illinois Public Media and the University of Illinois Journalism Department

Journalism professor Charles Ledford and Illinois Public Media Director of Community Content and Engagement Kim Kranich are leading a cross-disciplinary group of students to produce short films documenting the stories behind each quilt panel. Owen Henderson, a junior from Trenton, Illinois, majoring in Journalism with minors in Spanish and Theater, is part of the their team: “As a member of the queer community, I very rarely see our history represented, and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to tell the stories of LGBTQ folks who are part of that history. I hope that this project helps to personalize and illuminate a part of our history that’s rarely talked about or taught, especially for people who thought of the AIDS epidemic as something that they’d never be affected by."

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Contact

For further information on this event, contact Katya Reno at or (217) 244-8483

To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact Brian Cudiamat at or (217) 244-5586.