MGG to expand with support of NEH

The Mapping the Gay Guides team is pleased to announce that we have received a three-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the expansion of Mapping the Gay Guides. This generous support comes from the Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program within the NEH’s Division of Preservation and Access.

This funding will allow us to expand Mapping the Gay Guides in several ways.

First, it will allow the MGG team to digitize and transcribe another twenty years of data from the Bob Damron Address Books. In collaboration with the ONE Archives at the University of Southern California, the project will work to create data from the guides from 1981 through 2000. Much like the current site, this data will be geolocated and made available on the site both through our interactive map and in a raw dataset. We anticipate adding at least another 100,000 locations to the map over the next three years.

Second, in order to ensure that users can interact with this data we’ll also refactor the mapping visualization on the site to allow users to utilize the map’s filters and features more easily. The map adds a level of accessibility to the data and ultimately the Damron guides that is difficult to achieve with large flat data files and we aim to make this visualization more sustainable and interactive. In addition to the mapping visualization, we’ll also build and launch a new visualization focused on the statistics about the types and categories of locations over time. This visualization will allow users to filter by amenity or type of location to see the growth in the number of locations over time.

Lastly in addition to expanding the data available on the site and adding enhanced visualizations, we’ll create pedagogical materials aimed at both public historians of local, state, and LGBTQ historical societies. These materials will serve as tutorials to the site and guides to how these organizations can effectively use Mapping the Gay Guides’s data to aid in the respective organization’s LGBTQ programming. We’ll also create lesson plans for K-12 and college level instructors on how to use Mapping the Gay Guides in the classroom to explore themes of queer geography.

If you’d like to sign up for updates when new data, visualizations, and outreach materials launch you can sign up for our newsletter.

The core team on the project will include Dr. Amanda Regan (SMU) and Dr. Eric Gonzaba (CSUF) as well as graduate assistants from California State University, Fullerton. We’re also joined by an incredible advisory board made up of experts in either LGBTQ history or the digital humanities. The advisory board will be consulted about project milestones and will offer scholarly reviews of the project throughout the grant period.

Dr. Regan and Dr. Gonzaba want to thank the NEH for their generous support. We also want to thank SMU’s Center for Presidential History and the American Studies Department at California State University, Fullerton for their support of this project.