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We want your memorabilia and keepsakes, things such as diaries and journals, photographs, records from lesbian organizations (minutes, agendas, files), audio and video cassettes, event programs, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, event flyers, t-shirts, buttons, correspondence and more.


Check What We’re Collecting for a complete list.


BALA currently has limited storage space. For the time being, we are focusing on collections that are most at risk of being lost due to death, illness, relocation, or destroyed because of how the materials are stored (for example, in a garage or basement).


We accept donations based on the following criteria: content; condition; vintage and size (we prefer original material). Our focus for the next five years is on collecting materials that document the lives of lesbians who have lived in the Bay Area through the 1980s, as these are the materials most at risk. We will make exceptions and accept donations from more current decades reflecting the lives of lesbian seniors, lesbians with disabilities and lesbians of color. Please contact us to discuss the materials you would like to donate.


When you are ready to donate your own or someone else’s stuff, please contact us to make arrangements. There are a few things we will ask you: (1) if this is an emergency situation; (2) what kinds of materials you have; and (3) how much material (number and size of boxes or containers).


We will need you to complete and sign a Deed of Gift, which is a contract giving BALA legal ownership of the materials, and stipulating any limitations of their use.


The Deed of Gift should accompany the donation and should include a rough inventory of what you’re donating (for example:. 5 t-shirts, 6 photo albums, 20 flyers).

If you're not ready to donate, there are ways to ensure that your stuff will come to us and be preserved. You can put your wishes in your will, or you can write a Directive giving instructions stipulating which things you want donated to BALA.


Your memorabilia is more important than you may realize. It documents the details of your life – what you did with your time, where you hung out, what you did to make money, who you hung out and lived with, what you wore, what you listened and danced to, and what you read or created. Your memorabilia tells a rich story of how you lived as a lesbian in the Bay Area. Your story is an integral part of the Bay Area’s collective lesbian and LGBTQ history.

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