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Newberry Library Wants Your Help Building A Huge Archive Of Women's March Signs & Posters

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jan 23, 2017 11:10PM

Photo: Tyler LaRiviere

If you attended the massive Women's March on Chicago on Saturday, you were lucky enough to witness an endless parade of inspired protest signs. Thanks to the folks at Newberry Library, those signs—along with tons of other ephemera from the historic demonstration—will be preserved for posterity in their archive; and they want you to help build the collection.

Newberry put out calls over the last few days on social media for people to contact the library if they were interested in donating signs—or hats, banners, posters, buttons, etc.—for their protest archive. The response was "incredible, well above and beyond what we expected to be in terms of sheer volume and responses,"Alex Teller, Communications Director of Newberry, told Chicagoist.

The exact amount of incoming signage is hard to estimate, Teller said, but given the hundreds of messages received, the archive will be "significant, even if only a fraction of people" who responded end up following through.

To help facilitate the countless expected donations, Newberry just posted on Monday afternoon a guide for how people can go about donating their signs and other ephemera, including what info to include. Chicagoans who traveled to participate in the Washington D.C. rally are encouraged to donate their signs and other ephemera, too. Newberry also plans to introduce a channel on their site through which the public can upload their digital photography to share.

The Women's March archive will be part of a larger protest-related collections initiative that Newberry kicked off last year, when they began a catalog of Black Lives Matter materials, which visitors can currently access in the library's reading room.

An exhibition of the Women's March signs and banners could be in the cards down the road, too. "I think sometime in the future we could potentially put together an exhibit that one could visit in person," Teller said, adding that a digital gallery is likely, as well.