Stonewall’s National Advisory Council Takes Tour of Museum

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A year after the National Advisory Council [NAC] was formed, its members took a tour of the Stonewall National Museum & Archives.

“It really inspires you to see what you’re fighting for. Many of us [on the NAC], while we’re committed to the cause, haven’t seen what we need to get the juices flowing,” said Deb Dagit, NAC co-chair.

The NAC, made up of 20 members from Washington D.C., South Florida, New York, Massachusetts and California, is an advisory board with a wide range of expertise which Stonewall hopes to tap. 

“It’s a way for them to leverage our background and expertise . . . in fundraising, activism,” said NAC member Chuck Wolfe.

The tour was held on Feb. 25, the day the NAC held its annual meeting.

Robert Lee, chief librarian, answered questions and talked about the archives, including the role that donors play in the enhancement of the selection. “We’re always looking for those nuggets we don’t have.”

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Paul Fasana, chief archivist, said a lot of material is given to Stonewall by the families of deceased loved ones who collected LGBT books, photographs, and even erotica. 

“They don’t know what to do with it.” The archives also include shirts, buttons, political materials, pulp fiction, bar rags, and newspapers and magazines.  “There’s over 100 years of LGBT history. It’s impossible to make it all accessible,” Fasana said.

Robert Delehanty, Stonewall board member, and Emery Grant, director of community engagement, said the overall goal of the NAC is to develop a strategic plan to create a national presence and recognition for the organization. “This is an important part of our three-year strategic plan to grow the organization’s national footprint,” said Grant.

At the first meeting in May of 2016 in Washington, D.C., the NAC decided Stonewall needed to focus on branding, development, and increasing the amount of money raised, including corporate donations.

The second meeting, held after the tours of the library and gallery at the Hampton Inn in Fort Lauderdale, was about achieving the goals laid out last year.

“How do we move forward on those” is the purpose of the second meeting, said Chris Rudisill, Stonewall executive director. Task forces for each goal have also been established. “[The meeting also] gives them a chance to really connect with the folks doing the work day to day . . . help them to better connect to the organization. They’ve really integrated with our board as well as with the staff,” Rudisill said.

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