Australian AIDS memorial quilt project

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Photography Powerhouse Museum © all rights reserved

Since 2007, a team of industrious Castle Hill volunteers have been documenting the Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt. The ‘Quilt’ itself is actually over 100 quilts, each of which is made up of panels remembering individuals who have died from HIV/AIDS since 1982.

The Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt Project began in 1988 and provided a focus for the expression of community grief as the AIDS epidemic grew and was part of a worldwide movement to promote compassion, education and understanding about AIDS and its human toll. The Museum received the quilt in 2007.

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A block from the AIDS quilt. Photography Powerhouse Museum © all rights reserved

The volunteers work on the quilts out at the Powerhouse Discovery Centre in Castle Hill (the Museum’s off-site storage and collection care facility). The volunteers’ record information about the people remembered on the quilts and about the friends and families who made the panels. Special trays are constructed to move and store the large and heavy quilts. They are packed using archival materials, including ‘pool noodles’ to prevent the fabric lying in sharp folds which may later crack.

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Collection Powerhouse Museum © all rights reserved

The Museum has recently issued a press release seeking to contact panel makers and contributors and request their permissions to make public the documentation and stories on each of the quilts in this valuable and very personal memorial.

To contribute towards the documentation of these quilts, contact Nicky Balmer, Registration Department, Powerhouse Museum on 02 9217 0117 or nicoleb@phm.gov.au.