Pittsburgh Queer History Project

New York New York Photograph 19. Series 2: Photographs. Chuck Tierney collection. Pittsburgh Queer History Project Archives.

The Pittsburgh Queer History Project (PQHP)  is an oral history and media archive, focusing on LGBT nightlife in Pittsburgh, PA from 1960 to 1990. Founded by Harrison Apple in 2012, the project began as an investigation of gay-owned-and-operated after-hours nightclubs. Within these nightclubs, LGBT Pittsburghers used fraternal organization charters as semi-legal shelters and created an after-dark community of labor and love.

From the PQHP website.

Since its inception in 2012, I have collaborated with Harrison Apple and Dr. Tim Haggerty on the Pittsburgh Queer History Project, serving as a copywriter, editor, assistant curator, processing archivist, oral history interviewer, and giant push-pin constructor. The PQHP Archives houses digital materials donated to the PQHP, as well as digital surrogates of physical objects. Through the Archives’ collections, we aim to recirculate the sounds, images, and textures of the places and lives documented.


Working on the archives’ collections has been both immensely gratifying – on a personal level – and productively challenging on a professional level. The materials in each collection push up on my own knowledge of queer Pittsburgh – as a place, as a time, as a feeling, as a sense of self – while presenting unique technical challenges.


I worked extensively on the Michael “Vanna” Obusek Collection, which went public in February 2017. You can check out the collection here.