New AIDS Exhibit Opens to Honor Lives Lost

The Spurlock Museum of World Cultures located on Gregory street, opened a new exhibit showcasing over a dozen quilt panels originally made in the 1980s and early 1990s for the AIDS Memorial Quilt, in Washington DC. 

The Sewn-in Memory: AIDS Quilt Panels from Central Illinois has each panel commemorating a person who died of AIDS, or of an AIDS-related ailment. 

The panels were created mostly by family and friends of those deceased but also were contributed to by strangers who wanted to help build awareness of the impact of the AIDS pandemic. 

The exhibit is a community-centered show created with the  History Harvest, a class in the Department of History at the University and Greater Community AIDS Project of East Central Illinois, which holds the panels and assists in exhibit research and creation. 

Safia Tayyabi, a former History student exemplified how sentimental it felt to contribute to a great cause. 

“I didn’t even really sew much but from the intention I had, it felt really amazing to even do the smallest thing for a large-scale issue”, said Tayyabi. 

This is the first showing of the panels since 1993 when they were displayed in the Illini Union at UIUC. 

Beth Watkins, Education and Publications coordinator of the Spurlock Museum described this as an initiative that had been in the works for a while but now will be taking off due to all the help it has gained. 

The exhibit will be open from Nov 2, 2021- to Jul 10, 2022, all day with no fee other than a $3 suggested donation. More information on the exhibit can be found on the Spurlock Museum website closer to the opening date.