Artifacts on same-sex marriage.
Artifacts in a display case in the lobby of Hamilton Library.

“Creating & Curating Change,” an exhibit of selections from Hamilton Library’s new AIDS & Same-Sex Marriage in Hawaiʻi Archives, is on display at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus.

The exhibit consists of two parts. Highlight/teaser cases in the library’s lobby are on display through May 15, while the main exhibit in the Moir Reading Room on the fifth floor of the Hamilton addition is viewable through the end of September. The lobby cases are accessible whenever the library is open, while the main exhibit is open during archive hours, Tuesdays through Fridays, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Leilani Dawson

The struggles against the AIDS epidemic and for same-sex marriage rights dominated politics and public discourse in Hawaiʻi, the nation and the world from the 1980s onward; the 50th State was on the forefront of both issues. The two issues were deeply connected, with activism against AIDS helping to energize the call for marriage rights.

More on the exhibit

The “Creating & Curating Change” exhibit highlights materials from key people involved in both issues. The AIDS & Same-Sex Marriage in Hawaiʻi Archives was founded around 2017 by David McEwan, a primary care physician who started treating local AIDS patients in 1982, and Tom Ramsey, a retired UH Mānoa math professor. The archives are housed within the library’s University Archives and Manuscript Collections Department.

Leilani Dawson, department chair and manuscript collections archivist, has been working intensively with McEwan and Ramsey over the past two years to organize their collections and prepare them for public access.

“This collaboration grew into the exhibit, which also features additional selections from former state Associate Justice Steven Levinson, former Intermediate Court of Appeals Associate Judge Dan Foley and the late Jackie Young, a former Hawaiʻi lawmaker, among others,” said Dawson. “The collections are slated to be a key component in English Assistant Professor Derrick Higginbotham’s seminar in cultural studies, “Body Talk: Queen Theories/Queer Histories in spring 2020.”

For the full story, see the Hamilton Library website.