Week 10 | Recalibrating

[Previously in this series, a summer internship with the LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida: Intro/Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9.]

RETURNING TO RESEARCH + DRAWING BOARDS

This week I worked extensively on researching the remaining selections. Including cited, verifiable sources is a priority of this academic archive, and the initial lists and launching points were sketched mostly from other blog posts and community members’ memories. While spending time locating documentary evidence, I was able to revise dates as well as reveal gaps in the collections that needed addressing. These can be addressed by making space for the public process of scholarship and including the emerging details or by selecting different artifacts with more evidentiary support. I was able to use both solutions as I completed this stage.

REVISITING COLLECTIONS SELECTIONS

The first Pride Picnic in Central Florida, for example, has been established as occurring in 1983. An earlier date of 1979 appears in some published sources, and I am contacting these to rectify the discrepancy.

I also wanted to feature a specific article from the LCN Express, the monthly newsletter from the Loving Committed Network, an LGBTQ women’s group. Since I want to include some material artifacts in this collection, I chose to use a different edition since that one only existed in a digital format, and others existed in the storage archive as in-tact pages. Others were general categories to include, for example, something from Gay Days at Disney, that became clearer after visiting the physical repository. These adjustments, refinements, and revisions are an expected part of the process that can yield unexpected directions in a project.

ORGANIZATIONAL MEMORY, OR THE FRANKEN-MUSEUM

It is easier to include my reflexive practice here, after the fact, than when first finding my way through. Many of the research pages and script drafts lived in states of incompletion due to the existence of discrepancies and uncertainties of what objects were locatable in the storage archive. The process required some unscheduled interviews with Board Members of the Museum, as well as other community members who have supported its work, to trace the process of earlier projects that professionalized the collections. This Museum originated as a History Project and has had transitioned through several iterations where pieces and parts were worked on by community experts, academic historians, interns, and volunteers. The results are thankfully a meaningful and necessary collection that occasionally requires some piecing together of organizational memory to navigate the structures and data.

VISITING THE STORAGE ARCHIVE

As a result of the careful research, source-finding, and verification stages, I was invited to examine the physical repository, or storage archive. This is an exciting step that perhaps I should have planned and prepared for from the conceptual stages of this project. For future digital research projects, I will include surveying physical archives as well — at least I can ask the questions at earlier stages. I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to explore and handle the items mentioned, as well as many others, that testify to the human stories of lived experiences among the LGBTQ community in Central Florida. As you may expect, additional revisions were decided upon as a result of this inspiring experience. The finalization of this work is so close! I will be spending the next two weeks completing the series and reviewing the process.

NEXT: COMPLETING + AUDITING

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Nikki Fragala Barnes is a transdisciplinary scholar of the arts and humanities. Research interests include place-based public histories and archives.

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nikki fragala barnes

nikki fragala barnes

Nikki Fragala Barnes is a transdisciplinary scholar of the arts and humanities. Research interests include place-based public histories and archives.

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