National Recognition from American Historical Association

By Patrick Bohn ’05, February 11, 2022
Ithaca’s LGBTQ History Walking Tour awarded the Allan Bérubé Prize.

In the three years since its creation, Ithaca’s LGBTQ History Walking Tour has garnered significant praise for showcasing how LGBTQ stories and the people behind them are embedded into the fabric of the local community.

The recognition of its importance continues to grow, and recently, the American Historical Association Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History awarded the tour the Allan Bérubé Prize for outstanding work in public or community-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history. The prize is underwritten by the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco.

It's the latest honor for the tour, which was created by Rachel Steinmetz ’19, Cal Goodin ’19, Rachel Kreidberg ’18, and Gianna Caputo ’19 with the help of Luca Maurer, director of the college’s Center for LGBT Education, Outreach and Services.

“Winning an award named after [Allan Bérubé] means these historians believe the tour is the standard of public and community history work, and that’s exciting.”

Luca Maurer, director, Ithaca College Center for LGBT Education, Outreach and Services.

“This is a different type of recognition than the tour has typically received,” Maurer said. “Allan Bérubé was a gay person who was heavily involved in community and public history. Winning an award named after him means these historians believe the tour is the standard of public and community history work, and that’s exciting.

“It’s a great recognition of the academic work that went into the creation of the tour,” he continued. “It was started because of something a student was working on in class. And it’s a great example of the ways that IC supports students in going about their studies and their research and letting them chart their own course.”

Covering more than seven miles of Ithaca, the tour has 32 stops. One is 329 West Seneca Street in Ithaca, where composer and music theorist Harry Partch spent the spring and summer of 1943 working on the composition “U.S. Highball”, which was selected by the Library of Congress's National Recording Preservation Board as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Other stops are more directly tied to Ithaca College, such as 302 South Plain Street in Ithaca, which was the boyhood home of pianist, composer, and performer Julius Eastman, who briefly attended IC. If you’re on campus, stop by the Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services, which is now located at 110 Towers Concourse.

The tour was given the 2020 Exemplary Program Award of the Gender & Sexuality Knowledge Community by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the Outstanding Social Justice Collaboration Award from the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Commission for Social Justice Education and the Research Recognition Award from the ACPA Coalition of Sexuality and Gender Identities.

“LGBTQ history is American history, so I hope that this recognition encourages people to use the tour and recognize that LGBTQ people have always been here, and we are embedded into the history of the IC and Ithaca community,” Maurer said. “I also hope it encourages people to wonder and question what LGBTQ stories happened in their towns and create something for their own areas that re-tell those stories.”

Take the Tour

The PocketSights app lets you experience Ithaca's LGBTQ walking history tour, complete with photos, audio, and video, from the comfort of your own home, both on a laptop or through a mobile device.