Life After IML - August 2004

John's official photo at IML 2004, May 2004
My official photo from IML 2004
Photo credit: Ron Volanti Jr.

Well, I managed to stay at home for the whole of July without going too crazy. I don't have a new job yet so I spent my time attending a BLUF party, the London Pride Parade, meetings with the Spanner Trustees, celebrated my 33rd birthday, did some voluntary work for Stonewall and booked trips to Inferno (Sept 9 - 15) and Dungeon 901 (Oct 14 - 18).

During my IML year I held a raffle for my Harley Davidson motorbike and raised $22,000 - split equally between the Spanner Trust in the UK and the Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M) in Chicago, USA. I wasn't the only person to raise money for the LA&M. There has been a huge fundraising campaign over the last year to try to pay off the museum's mortgage by 4th August 2004. The good news is that the mortgage has now been paid off, but what were we raising all that money for? Here are just some of the services the museum provides:

    The LA&M Road Show brings the museum out of Chicago and into fetish communities around the world. Each show is customized to the city and audience where it is mounted. The Road Show includes local fetish history, artifacts from the museum's collections, multimedia displays, a museum store and a portable research center. To find out when the Road Show is coming to you, please visit the Road Show blog. The blog also reports on past exhibits and contains information on how you can book the Road Show for your next event.

    Do you have any items you'd like to donate to the museum one day, but not yet? Does your local leather club have any records, papers or club colours that they're preserving? The LA&M has assembled a booklet with information to help you store all kinds of items so that they keep their value. The information can be downloaded here (3.2 MB in size), or email archives (at) to have a copy sent to you.

    The LA&M offers free licences to use kinky artwork, which can be mailed to you on a CD Rom. Included are some of the best works from Joseph Bean, Etienne, Chuck Arnett, Bill Tellman and David Grieger. These works are not in the public domain. Click here for more information or to download a licence agreement.

    The museum building in Chicago includes the "Etienne Auditorium", which has 164 seats and can be used by groups and individuals at no charge. The auditorium can be booked by downloading a pdf document from here, completing the form and sending it to the museum address.

    There are 4,000 square feet of galleries at the museum itself (6418 N. Greenview Ave., Chicago). Galleries are open every Thursday and Friday from 11am to 7pm; and Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Galleries can also be opened by appointment. Galleries are free to members and a 30 day membership can be purchased at the museum for $5.

    The LA&M has provided materials and/ or produced exhibits along with the Museum of Sex in New York City and the San Francisco Public Library. Future cooperative exhibits include an exhibit at Folsom Street Fair in conjunction with the GLBT Historical Society and another exhibit at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center.

    The museum has compiled a Leather History Timeline, created by Tony DeBlase and updated since then by volunteers. You can see the results here and suggest any missing items by emailing archives (at)

    Just what you need for the leatherman who has everything but still wants another present each birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, housewarming and partnership ceremony! The shop is located in the basement of the museum and is also online.

    You know that old leatherman or woman who's always telling stories about the good old days? Why not stick a tape recorder under their nose and record a story or two for the museum? Volunteers will transcribe and catalogue stories and recollections from leather men and women around the globe. Unfortunately oral histories are useless unless you follow some basic guidelines (such as getting the subject to record their consent for the tape to be sent to the museum and transcribed), so please read these guidelines first.

    The LA&M will evaluate, insure and archive your kinky stuff for future generations. Collections include erotic artwork and photography, club colours, pins and ephemera, leathers and boots worn by leatherfolk, manuscripts, rare books and magazines, oral histories, posters, T-shirts, titleholder vests and sashes, toys and devices, uniforms and clothing, and archival film and video. Materials are stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment and can be in any language - it's not just a museum for English speakers!
    If you have something you'd like to donate please send an email to archives (at) to check that it's wanted, then download a pdf donation form and complete one form for each item. Finally send the donations and forms to the Leather Archives and Museum, 6418 N. Greenview Ave., Chicago, IL 60626, USA

    The LA&M answers research requests from all over the world. Information can be accessed by visiting the LA&M in person, by telephone (001 773 761 9200) or by email archives (at)
    Email requests are usually answered within 7 days, using volunteer research assistants.

    (This list was last updated May 2007)

The museum belongs to all of us and anyone can contribute towards the running costs by becoming a member. Annual memberships start at $30 USD for a non-voting member or $100 USD for a voting member. Please consider joining: click here to sign up online.

Thanks for your help and support, it's much appreciated.

Best wishes,

John Pendal
International Mr Leather 2003

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