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    First 50-State Virtual Exhibition of the AIDS Memorial Quilt

    Each year on World AIDS Day, the National AIDS Memorial Quilt team works with hundreds of partners to arrange more than1,000 in-person Quilt displays across the country at universities, places of worship, museums, businesses, and community centers to honor and remember loved ones lost to AIDS. This year, for health and safety reasons, that isn’t possible due to COVID-19.

    “World AIDS Day is taking on new meaning this year, as COVID-19 has brought an enormous loss of life and grief to millions of people,” said John Cunningham, Executive Director of the National AIDS Memorial. “During the darkest days of the AIDS crisis, the Quilt was a source of immense comfort, inspiration, and used as a tool for social activism to open the eyes of the nation to injustice and to help survivors grieve and heal. Through this exhibition, we hope the power and beauty of the Quilt can serve that same purpose for those who are experiencing loss and grief due to COVID-19.”

    The virtual exhibition provides a unique way for individuals and organizations to host a display of the Quilt and be a part of this first-ever 50-state exhibition. Each display host will be able to feature a selection of beautiful Quilt blocks of their choice and curate a personalized display narrative that will accompany each display. The exhibition will be free to the public, officially launching on World AIDS Day at

    Displays will be categorized by state under the individual or organization host name and presented virtually as the first-ever 50-state exhibition of the Quilt. The exhibition will run through March 31, 2021.

    “Even though nothing can replace seeing our beautiful Quilt in person, this virtual exhibition allows us to still share the Quilt and its stories just as we have done for past three decades around World AIDS Day,” said Gert McMullan, a Co-Founder of the Quilt and Quilt Conservator at the National AIDS Memorial. 

    2020 marks 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States, a pandemic that has led to nearly 700,000 lives lost, and still no cure four decades later. As our nation struggles through the COVID-19 pandemic, the horrific loss of life has surpassed 244,000 in a matter of months. The groundbreaking new virtual Quilt exhibit, part of World AIDS Day 2020–A National Conversation, will spotlight the interconnectedness of both pandemics and offer valuable insights as we prepare for the future.

    Published on November 19, 2020