The NAMES Quilt: How to Find an Individual Panel

When you look at the NAMES Quilt in a larger perspective, it is a stunning contribution to our history, and just my talking about it or sending you to some internet links cannot remotely touch the impact, personal and global, of seeing it in person. I saw the entire display in Washington DC in 1988, and…here’s the personal…I could not tear myself away from the block of panels that included one for my then-recently departed partner. I sat there for hours.

I’ve often visited the website of the NAMES Quilt and while it’s a wonderful effort, I was left wanting to see larger images of the individual panels. On that site it’s difficult to read any but the largest writing on them. In 2012 a project by Microsoft was announced, as a different website set up like a google earth approach. You can see the entire “field” of thousands and thousands of blocks….

And then zoom in on a much closer view….

And finally, zoom closer to the image shown at the top of this page. It’s for some of the customers of the Houston bar Mary’s Naturally.

What was missing from the Microsoft display is any search ability, but there IS a way to find a particular panel. It’s a bit tedious, but it IS possible. It uses BOTH websites and I am sharing the instructions in this blog entry.

First go to the NAMES Project site, to their search page

And, for example, find the matches for “Mary’s Naturally” (there are three relevant ones). One of them is block #134. Now visit the Microsoft site
At the Microsoft site there are 103 blocks in a row, so the Mary’s #134 would be in row 2.

Row 2 begins with #104, count over to #134, about a third of the way over. Yes, this gets quite tedious if you want something in the vast middle, but the point is, it’s doable.

In the Mary’s block above, the blue areas are hard to read, but the names are: Rod Ezio, David Oleson, Bill Warren, Dennis Dunwoody, Rusty Virgen, Garry Christofoletti, Joe Bob Law and Shorty Harris.
One more example, Michael McAdory, who died in 1984, was a driving force in Houston in those early years of the crisis in AIDS education and he helped found the KS/AIDS Foundation. An AIDS residence center was named after him, McAdory House. From the NAMES site I found his panel in block 226, and on the map navigated to find it.

Oh, yeah, in 2007 I did a Queer Music Heritage show on “Songs About AIDS.” There are many aspects of the AIDS crisis I wanted to cover, the emotional areas of grief, anger, sympathy, the political and social approaches, some of the musical history, and a variety of genres, including musicals and choruses. And you can get a taste of it all in this three-hour show.

Let me indulge in my own personal AIDS memorial. Of course I’ve experienced the loss of many more friends than shown below, but I want to honor those closest to me, including my partner Wes, who died in 1988.