Student Resources

Students of all ages come to The NAMES Project Foundation’s AIDS Memorial Quilt web site to learn about the impact of HIV/AIDS on modern society, especially as the epidemic becomes a pandemic and shows no signs of slowing its spread. Across the desk, educators often find The Quilt’s focus on the individual lives lost to this disease a preferred manner to introduce the topic of HIV & AIDS, given the volatile nature of any discussion of sexually transmitted diseases in contemporary classroooms.

The volume of inquiries we receive prevents us from responding to every individual request; to best meet your needs as students, we’ve made these resources as comprehensive as we can, covering our early history as well as our present activities.

* The History of The AIDS Memorial Quilt
* Quilt Facts
* About The NAMES Project Foundation
* The Impact of HIV/AIDS Continues to Build

The History of The AIDS Memorial Quilt

In June of 1987, a small group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect. Their goal was to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to thereby help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. This meeting of devoted friends and lovers served as the foundation of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.

The Quilt was conceived in November of 1985 by long-time San Francisco gay rights activist Cleve Jones[+], who helped organize the annual candlelight march honoring Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. At the end of the 1985 march, Jones and others stood on ladders taping placards bearing the names of friends and loved ones who had died of AIDS to the walls of the San Francisco Federal Building. The wall of names looked like a patchwork quilt.

On October 11, 1987, the Quilt included 1,920 panels and was displayed for the first time on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., during the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The Quilt returned to Washington, D.C. in October of 1988, when 8,288 panels were displayed on the Ellipse in front of the White House. In October 1992, the entire Quilt was displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where it was also displayed in its entirety in 1996 when it contained approximately 37,440 individual panels. In June of 2004 the 1,000 blocks that had been added to The Quilt since 1996 were displayed on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. as an effort to again bring the entire Quilt back to the Mall was announced.

The Quilt was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, is displayed in the Smithsonian Museum and is today the largest community art project in the world. The Quilt has been the subject of countless books, films, scholarly papers, articles, and theatrical, artistic and musical performances. The film “Common Threads: Stories From The Quilt” won the Academy Award as the best feature-length documentary film of 1989. In 2001 The NAMES Project Foundation and The AIDS Memorial Quilt headquarters moved from San Francisco to Atlanta, GA, and today sections of the Quilt are displayed more than ever, new panels continue to be accepted and incorporated into the Quilt and a new degree of financial security continues to be built.

More On The Quilt’s History

Quick Facts About The AIDS Memorial Quilt

* Funds Raised by the Quilt for Direct Services for People with AIDS: over $3,250,000 (U.S.)
* Number of Visitors to the Quilt: 25,200,00
* 12′ by 12′ Sections of The Quilt: 5,956
* Panels in the Quilt: approx. 49,000
* Names on the Quilt: More than 96,000
* Size : 1,278,675 square feet (with walkway the equivalent of 272 official NCAA basketball courts; without walkway 174 official courts)
* Miles of Fabric: 51.5 miles long if all 3’x6′ panels were laid end to end
* Total Weight: More than 54 1/2 tons
* NAMES Project Chapters & Panel Making Workshops: 11
* International Affiliates: 25

About The NAMES Project Foundation

The Foundation was created and exists to care for and maintain The AIDS Memorial Quilt, to display The AIDS Memorial Quilt and to continue to accept and incorporate into The Quilt new panels. The goals The AIDS Memorial Quilt was created to achieve include, and thus the goals of The NAMES Project Foundation are stated as:

The Quilt serves as many different purposes and fulfills as many different needs as it has panels. The goals for the Quilt at its inception, and which we continue to honor today, include:

* Providing a creative means for remembrance and healing.
* Effectively illustrate the enormity of the AIDS epidemic.
* Increasing the general public’s awareness of HIV and AIDS.
* Assisting others with HIV infection-prevention education.
* Raising funds for community-based AIDS service organizations.

More About The NAMES Project Foundation

The Impact of HIV/AIDS Continues to Build

* According to the Centers for Disease Control: 886,575 cases of and 501,669 deaths due to AIDS, reported through 12/2003. As of 2004, CDC estimates are that 14,000 people world-wide become HIV+ every day, and that over half of them – 7,700 – are 24 years old or younger.

* An estimated 40,000 Americans contract HIV every year, half of them under the age of 25. (Centers for Disease Control, 2001)

* As many as 25% of the 40,000 new HIV infections in the U.S. each year occur in 13- to 21-year-olds. (BETA, 1999)

* An average of at least one American under the age of 22 becomes infected with HIV every hour of every day. (US Department of Health and Human Services, 10/98)