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Pre-pride Queer Archives event at Nelson Library

The Nelson Public Library and Kootenay Pride have teamed up to present a pre-Pride warm-up event on Thursday, August 29 at 7pm. “Surprise! A Queer Archives Pop-up Event” offers an introduction to the Kootenay Queer Archives collection, a treasure trove of magazines, newspapers, posters and more from Canadian LGBTQ+ history, 1969-1991. Archive holder Michael Wicks describes the collection as representing an important period for gay rights, and for Canada as a whole.

“Everyone has stories, which are part of, help create, and are affected by larger historical events,” explains Wicks. “This archive, held locally, allows the queer community and others to research, study, or simply to enjoy reviewing the amazing social changes created through the work and the lives of Canadians. It links past, present, and future through the personal, the political and the potential.”

The evening offers interested people from across the community a fascinating look at a selection of material, with a presentation by Wicks featuring additional local voices, and an interactive post-talk scavenger hunt for fun and prizes.

Items in the collection include the newspapers Angles, Gay Tide, Open Doors (Vancouver), The Body Politic (Toronto), and publications from across Canada, posters, brochures, pins, political leaflets and more.

“Of particular local interest is the amazing chronicle of the struggle and success of Kootenay Pride 1996 -2000, created by Lynn Featherstone, and now donated to the Nelson Museum,” says Wicks.

Nelson Library Adult Services Coordinator Anne DeGrace is delighted to co-present the archival collection and participate in this Pride weekend warm-up. “This is queer history specifically, but also

Canadian history collectively,” she says. “Anyone with an interest in history, society, and human rights will find plenty to discover.”

This event offers a great warm-up to a full weekend of celebration. Also on Thursday, Touchstones Museum offers a queer-friendly open house, with free entrance to the history exhibit and the Gu Xiong show The Unknown Remain, plus a chance to make some rainbow-themed crafts in the Art Lab. For more information on Pride Weekend events, go to the Kootenay Pride Facebook page.

Photo Caption: Pride 1996 takes to the streets. This and other photographs are now held at Touchstones Nelson. — Submitted