The Rainbow Flag Has Been Added To MoMA's Collection, Just In Time For LGBT Pride Month
Unless you've been living under a rock or in a doomsday cult bunker a la Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, you've probably realized that June is LGBT Pride Month, aka my favorite time of the year, second only to Christmas. In fact, it's basically the Christmas of the queer community, and this year, we're getting a pretty freakin' awesome present: the Museum of Modern Art is adding the rainbow flag to its design collection. According to Gothamist, MoMA announced on Wednesday that the flag will join the ranks of "similarly universal symbols" like the @ sign and the recycling symbol. I might be biased, but clearly the rainbow flag will definitely add some much-needed fun to the collection. In honor of the addition, the museum interviewed the flag's creator, artist Gilbert Baker, and unsurprisingly, he had some seriously wild stories about its creation in 1978. As a drag queen in San Francisco during the 1970s, Baker had already taught himself to sew when his friend Harvey Milk began asking him to make banners for protests marches. "My craft became my activism," he told MoMA. Baker decided to make the flag as a way of "proclaiming... visibility," so he chose its birthplace carefully: a Gay Community Center on Grove Street in San Francisco:
We took over the top-floor attic gallery and we had huge trashcans full of water and mixed natural dye with salt and used thousands of yards of cotton... I wanted to make it at the center, with my friends — it needed to have a real connection to nature and community.
The actual process of dyeing the flag, however, was a little more complicated. The team of volunteers, which included a "queen of tie-dye" named Fairy Argyle Rainbow, ended up taking over a laundromat in the middle of the night and watching the machines turn "every color of the rainbow." It's an amazing story, which you can read in full at the Museum of Modern Art website.
This isn't the first time museums have acquired culturally significant items — it is, after all, what they're for. With that in mind, here are a few other objects from history you might not have realized you could visit in person:
1. Princess Diana's Wedding Dress
Although the exhibition is now closed, the beloved princess's iconic wedding dress was available for viewing at the Cincinnati Museum Center from February to August of 2014.
2. Princess Leia's Slave Bikini
The infamous costume from Carrie Fisher's role in Star Wars is on display in Seattle's EMP Museum.
3. The 1903 Wright Flyer
Airplanes may be ubiquitous now, but in 1903, the Wright Flyer was the first powered aircraft that used many of the same techniques as modern planes. You can see it for yourself at the National Air and Space Museum.