Rebecca Price, President/CEO of Chick History, will moderate a Q&A Roundtable at the 2016 AASLH/MMA Joint Annual Meeting on the LGBT History topic of Female Friendship. The Roundtable is organized by the AASLH Women’s History Affinity Group and will have a companion tour in the afternoon to the Rochester Hills Museum.
The Affinity Group will also host a luncheon during the conference, with guest speaker Emily Fijol, the Executive Director of the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame, who will share Michigan’s rich and diverse Civil Rights History through the eyes of its women.
About the Roundtable and Tour
More Than Just Friends? The Do’s and Don’ts of Interpreting Female Friendship
Boston Marriage. Lovers. Lesbians. Roommates. Regardless of the label applied, interpreting “female friendship” within the context of LGBT history remains a challenge. Hosted by the Women’s History Affinity Group, this discussion and Q&A centers on how to approach this topic in your museum or site through best practices and case studies.
The wide success of AASLH’s recent publication Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites, coupled with recent contemporary events, are signs pointing to the high demand of this content in our society, as well as public spaces and places of heritage. Despite this growing acceptance of homosexuality in our culture, broaching the topic on tours or authentically interpreting it in programming remains a challenge. The subject of LGBT history incorporates many threads within its discipline. This roundtable will cover lesbian and female friendship, and will allow for an in depth discussion of the various implications and types of female relationships in American history, with a focus on histories from the late 18th and early 19th century.
- Dr. Susan Ferentinos, who has consulted, spoken, and published widely on the topic of LGBT history and is the author of Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites (AASLH and Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). She holds a Ph.D. in U.S. history with a focus on the history of gender and sexuality and a Masters of Library Science with a concentration in special collections, both from Indiana University.
- Lori Osborne is Director of Archives and Outreach at the Evanston History Center and Director of the Evanston Women’s History Project, a community-wide project to document the contributions Evanston women made to the community. She’s a former President of the Frances Willard Historical Association, which manages the Frances Willard House Museum.
More Than Just Friends? Trailblazing Women at Rochester Hills Museum and Farm
The tour will be to the Rochester Hills Museum north of Detroit. We will learn about some incredible Michigan women, including both the founder of the American Medical Women’s Association and the first woman in the United States to earn a Doctorate in Animal Genetics. This custom tour is a companion to the roundtable hosted by the Affinity Group on the topic of interpreting female friendship. Why did she never marry? Were they more than friends? Why does it even matter? Part tour, part brainstorming, we will work together on how to write female friendship into your house museum or tour. This is your chance to ask the experts how to talk about these topics in your museum or site, experience the challenges another museum faces, and begin addressing this issue in the field in real and thoughtful ways.