AIDS Memorial Quilt to head home to San Francisco, 32 years later

CNN
November 21, 2019 - 1:54 pm
Visitors look at panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt that are being displayed on February 13, 2012 in San Francisco, California.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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By Lauren M. Johnson, CNN

(CNN) -- The AIDS Memorial Quilt is getting a new home and returning to the place where it was created.

The famed quilt is moving from Atlanta back to San Francisco, where it will take up permanent residence.

Members of the NAMES Project Foundation announced the news on Wednesday along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman John Lewis, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

As part of the transition, the Project said it has agreed to jointly gift care and stewardship of the quilt's archives to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, making this collection available through the world's largest public library.

Related: St. Christopher's Hospital recognizes AIDS Education Month with quilt

"The National AIDS Memorial and The Quilt, through their very existence, have had a tremendous impact in telling the story of the AIDS crisis and the AIDS movement, a story of social justice," said John Cunningham, executive director of the National AIDS Memorial.

Gone but not forgotten

The quilt was first created in 1987 at the height of the AIDS pandemic. A group of strangers came up with the idea in order to remember the names and lives of their loved ones they feared history would forget.

The foundation describes the Quilt as both a memorial and a storyteller. The archive has over 200,000 pieces that tell the story of those who lost their lives to the disease.

"This is the culmination of decades of work that achieves a vision long held by The NAMES Project leadership who, armed with an unwavering commitment to The Quilt, were determined to see that the AIDS Memorial Quilt would stand the test of time," said Julie Rhoad, President & CEO, The NAMES Project Foundation.

"With this set of new caretakers, we are confident that the legacy of The Quilt and The NAMES Project is secure."

The Quilt will be on display at the National AIDS Memorial starting in 2020.

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