The Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M)
was established in 1997 in Chicago to create an archive of the history
of the leather communities and leather sex as they exist today.
It moved to a new permanent home in Chicago in February 2,000. It
now serves the leather/ SM /fetish communities of all sexual orientations
throughout the world.
The LA&M aims to be a resource, collecting
many kinds of artefacts and memorabilia of leather/ SM /fetish lives
and activities from around the world. The Executive Director is
Joseph M Bean; a former editor of Drummer, Mach, International Leatherman
and other leather/SM magazines and author or editor of a number
of books on leather/SM.
Although the LA&M has been in existence for
a number of years it is only now able to reach out and solicit materials
from outside the USA. It is now actively soliciting materials from
individuals and clubs in the UK and across Europe, for example the
gay MSC [motor sports clubs] leather clubs. The LA&Ms
board of Directors is keen that the facility reflects the history
and developments of the leather communities world-wide. Joseph Bean
recently said: almost anything would be welcome. Copies of
constitutions and bylaws are interesting, patches and other representations
of colours are great, and nothing is better than a carefully recorded
history of a club, especially if it can include memories of the
founding members and supporting documentation.
The LA&M has five main projects: -
- collects and preserves books/magazines about all sexualities and
sexual variations, concentrating on leather, SM, fetish and other
forms of radical sexuality.
- History of Clubs - collects
the histories of leather/ SM/ motorcycle/ fetish and related clubs
anywhere in the world together with their records, constitutions,
bylaws, patches and ephemera.
- Oral History - arranges the
taping and transcription of interviews with important individuals
or long-time participants in their leather/ SM/ fetish lifestyles.
This is first hand stories of the beginnings of the leather/ SM/
fetish world as it exists today and is one of the Museums
most important information sources. The Museum hopes to record some
interviews with UK individuals.
- Materials collects fliers,
posters, programmes, newsletters, brochures, educational materials
and prints of web sites and emails of leather men and women and
their organisations and businesses, together with evidence of legal
and social battles with reference to the leather/SM fetish lifestyles.
- Capital raising funds
to pay off the purchase of the Museums building by August
2004 and to create an endowment fund to finance the Museums
future expenditures. Most funds come in the form of subscriptions
The Museums collections are open to researchers
and visitors by arrangement.
For more information visit the LA&M website
Joseph Bean, Executive Director,
Leather Archive & Museum,
6418 N. Greenview Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60626.