The site North-by-Northwestern has an interesting writeup about the leather museum.
An unassuming brick building stands at the end of a residential street in Rogers Park, and the only sign of what’s inside are two banners with boots on them and big block letters saying LA&M. Though you could walk by without noticing it, the building actually holds a museum documenting one of the most taboo topics in society: leather fetishes and alternative sexual practices. Welcome to the Leather Archives and Museum.
LA&M exhibits many items that you might expect, such as whips, erotica paintings and fetish dolls. This is not just a closet full of toys, though. Everything holds significance in the fetish culture. For example, a bright-red, custom-designed spanking bench on display did not just serve one person’s fantasy. The “Infamous Red Spanking Bench” was first used at a private BDSM (bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sado/masochism) party and traveled through various parties for two years before a Chicago BDSM club took it permanently.
“There’s definitely an educational opportunity here,” says museum director Rick Storer, who holds a master’s degree in library science. “I think one of the common misconceptions that people have of the museum is that it’s kind of this dark and seedy thing in the back of a rough leather bar. We are professional archives, professional library, professional museum. We handle the subject matter just as the people at the Art Institute or the Museum of Science and Industry do.”
Lots more there, so I suggest you check it out.
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