Metro Weekly

Kameny's Artifacts on Display at Smithsonian

National Museum of American History to honor local gay civil rights pioneer with exhibit

The tributes to local gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny continue in the days following his death on Oct. 11, with the Smithsonian offering the public an opportunity to see some artifacts related to his work as an activist.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is presenting a selection of the picket signs used by Kameny during his multiple protests and demonstrations in favor of LGBT rights, according to a press release from Kameny’s friend and close associate Bob Witeck. The exhibit began Oct. 21 and will run through Jan. 16, 2012.

The signs, which were donated to the Smithsonian in 2006 as part of the Kameny Papers Project, are in the Artifact Walls section, second floor center of the Museum of American History. Three of the most prominent signs are now on display in Flag Hall, near the Star-Spangled Banner and the Civil Rights Era Woolworth lunch counter. Another is currently on view in ”The American Presidency” exhibit.

A five-hour public viewing for Kameny will be held Thursday, Nov. 3, from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square. Plans for an official memorial service are ongoing.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at