Washington State History Museum announcement.
Tacoma, WA – The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) congratulates the Washington State Historical Society (WSHS) and Peter Boag, Ph.D., for receiving an Award of Excellence for the original exhibition, Crossing Boundaries: Portraits of a Transgender West. The Award of Excellence is part of the AASLH Leadership in History Awards, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation of state and local history.
The exhibition was curated by WSHS in collaboration with historian Peter Boag, a professor at Washington State University Vancouver, who focuses on teaching and research interests related to society and culture in the United States and particularly the history of the American West from 1850-1950. His book Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past provided much of the research for the exhibition.
Crossing Boundaries shared seldom-spotlighted historical narratives of transgender people in the West, spanning the time period of 1860 to 1940, and explored four central themes – visibility, identity, acceptance, and history – through narratives about the lives of specific individuals who did not conform to gender norms. It was on view from May 29 through December 12, 2021.
“So many visitors to the Washington State History Museum shared their appreciation for this exhibition. It was clear to our team that the stories of the individuals in the exhibition had a powerful impact, and recognizing transgender history through a state museum exhibition really elevated history that had not been included before,” said Gwen Whiting, lead exhibitions curator at the Washington State Historical Society. “We are honored to receive AASLH’s national award recognizing this exhibition and its positive impacts in our community.”
“This recognition for our work on western American history and its transgender past is all the more meaningful given the attack currently underway in this nation and elsewhere in the world on transgender people specifically and the broader lesbian, gay, bi, and queer + population,” Peter Boag commented. “The Washington State Historical Society’s support of this work, and now this award from the American Association of State and Local History, are validation of our queer lives today and the past personages whom we are indebted to.”
The Washington State History Museum and Peter Boag are developing a traveling version of the exhibition, as well as an online version. Interested organizations can email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
This year, AASLH is proud to confer 53 national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history.
The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to aaslh.org/.