Fenton History Center Announces Opening of “Protest and Pride: The LGBTQ+ Community in Chautauqua County”


The Fenton History Center announces the 20201 feature exhibit “Protest and Pride: The LGBTQ+ Community in Chautauqua County.” The exhibit opens Wednesday, March 31st and will offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the LGBTQIA+ community in Chautauqua County and hear stories from community members about their experiences in Jamestown and Chautauqua County.

Executive Director Noah Goodling said, “After discovering there was a large gap in our historical knowledge about the LGBTQ+ community in the area, we started gathering stories and artifacts in an effort to build an archive of related information and materials at the Fenton History Center that both documents the current experience and the history of the community for future generations.”

Jamestown Pride Coordinator Sheridan A. Smith said, “We know that representation, seeing yourself reflected in history and the larger community, is important. Especially when that community, the LGBTQ+ community has been cast out, isolated, erased, or ignored for so long. Jamestown Pride is grateful to the Fenton History Center for taking the first steps in our area to recognize this history, and that they reached out to the community as a partner in this exhibit. For the history that has been made, and the history we will continue to make, now there is a place for us to be remembered along with everyone else.”
A virtual exhibit opening ceremony at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 31st will be live streamed on the Fenton History Center’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/FentonHistoryCenter. Following the ceremony, the exhibit will be opened to the public from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Admission will be free for opening night.

The exhibit has been built in coordination with the Jamestown Pride Committee, the Mental Health Association of Chautauqua County, Prevention Works, Robert H. Jackson Center, and the National Comedy Center. It was made possible due to support by the Humanities New York, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Greater Hudson Heritage Network.

The Fenton History Center will continue accepting stories and artifacts from the LGBTQ+ community for the center’s archives. Anyone wishing to contribute to this may contact Noah Goodling at director@fentonhistorycenter.org.

The exhibit will run through October 2021. The Fenton History Center is open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admissions is $10 for adults with free admission for members and children ages 17 and under. The Center is located at 67 Washington Street, Jamestown, New York. For additional information, contact the Center at (716) 664-6256 or visit us online at www.fentonhistorycenter.org.