The Autry Is Seeking Protest Signs, Photos, and Artifacts

The Griffith Park museum hopes to catalog items in order to preserve the stories within the "Black Lives Matter Protests in the West" initiative.

Allen J. Schaben / Contributor

What to Know

  • The museum is currently collecting signs, photos, and more
  • Items will be considered for future display as well as the permanent collection
  • Find a list of all artifacts on The Autry site

Artifacts that arise during an important moment are essential to telling the fuller story, or at least adding a vital immediacy to the big picture, thanks to the fact that the viewer of an exhibit is actually seeing items that played a central role as history was made.

The Smithsonian recently vowed to save a number of signs from the Black Lives Matter protests, signage displayed around Lafayette Park in Washington D.C., as part of its permanent collection.

Now The Autry Museum of the American West has sent out a similar and crucial call, requesting that people submit photographs, homemade signs, face masks, or other items that played a part in a recent protest.

"As a response and in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives across the world, the Autry's CCHI seeks to assist in documenting collecting, catalog, and preserving this critical moment in civil rights history in the American West."

The just-announced effort is related to the Griffith Park museum's recently introduced "Collecting Community History: The West During COVID-19."

That campaign, which launched on April 22, 2020, asked that Southern Californians share "journal entries, recipes, and pictures of face masks during this quarantine," all to fully catalog the pandemic and our response to it.

Black Lives Matter Protests in the West was announced on June 12. Museum curators are seeking items that will "... assist in documenting collecting, catalog, and preserving this critical moment in civil rights," reads a message from Tyree Boyd-Pates, Associate Curator of Western History.

"Please submit digital submissions of photographs, hand-made posters, and other ephemera documenting recent Black Lives Matter protest history in the American West," is the museum's request.

There's a full list of items The Autry is seeking on this page, including clothing, face masks, digital media, and handmade signs.

To read more on this initiative, which will document donated items for "future consideration for display," as well as the museum's permanent collection, visit The Autry's Collecting Community History Initiative: Black Lives Matter Protests in the West page now.

NEWPORT BEACH, CA - JUNE 03: Lola Alade, of Mission Viejo, holds a Black Lives Matter sign while joining supporters rallying at the Newport Beach Civic Center Park bridge to protest against racism and Minneapolis police officers' involvement in the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man Wednesday, June 3, 2020 in Newport Beach, CA. It was one of four protests Wednesday in Newport Beach. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

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