The Queer Omaha Archives preserves Omaha’s LGBTQIA+ history as part of the UNO Libraries’ Archives & Special Collections. Historical materials documenting Omaha’s diverse LGBTQIA+ communities are collected and made available to the public by archivists and librarians to more widely share Omaha’s stories.
We welcome opportunities to share the material already in the archives with individuals and organizations and are actively seeking additional material for the archives. Contact us for more information, to arrange a tour or presentation for a group, to discuss donating material, to make a financial contribution to support the Queer Omaha Archives, or to learn about other ways to support the Queer Omaha Archives.
Queer Omaha Archives In the News
- UNO receives Humanities Nebraska grant and will present an oral history workshop, September 2017
- UNO shines spotlight on Omaha's LGBTQ history, WOWT, 23 June 2017
- Queer Omaha Archives Material on Loan to Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Cassils: Phantom Revenant, February-April 2017
- UNO's Queer Omaha Archives will document LGBTQIA+ culture, history, Omaha World Herald 8 July 2016
- UNO Library to House Omaha LGBTQIA Archives, UNO News Center (via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine) & AP Wire Service (example)
The History of the Queer Omaha Archives
A celebration to mark the beginning of the Queer Omaha Archives was held on July 13, 2016, in Criss Library Archives & Special Collections. Over 80 people attended including members of the public along with UNO students, faculty, and staff. The evening included a display of some of the historical material available from the Terry Sweeney & Pat Phalen Papers and the University Archives, the first material collected for the Queer Omaha Archives.
UNO's LGBTQIA+ archives was launched after the October 2015 visit to campus by Josh Burford. Burford's talks about queering history and starting an LGBTQ+ archives project during LGBTQ+ History Month mobilized an interested group of UNO students, faculty, and staff. A meeting of UNO students and employees and community members organized by Dr. Jessi Hitchins at UNO's Criss Library in November 2015 directly led to the launch of the Queer Omaha Archives with Amy Schindler, Director of Archives and Special Collections. Attendees selected a name for the collecting initiative, identified potential donors and collaborators, and identified potential initiatives such as an oral history project and public events for the archives.
During the fall 2016 semester, Dr. Jay Irwin's Sociology 3700: Introduction to LGBT Studies students conducted oral history interviews with community members as part of their coursework. These interviews were intentionally collected for the archives and were transferred to the archives at the end of the semester. Dr. Irwin also conducted oral history interviews with Emeritus Dean Shelton Hendricks and Emeritus Professor Meredith Bacon in 2016 for the archives.
In August 2017, the Queer Omaha Archives announced that UNO Libraries received a $2,000 grant from Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. The project included a free oral history workshop for the public and the collection of 20 oral history interviews. UNO Libraries provided matching funds from the Queer Omaha Archives Fund (fund code 01139120) established with the University of Nebraska Foundation. In 2018, a second grant was applied for and received from HN and NCE.