PHOTOS: Mourners reflect on the Pulse tragedy with History Center exhibit

By : Kathy Ruiz
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ORLANDO | Mourners came to Orlando from across the country for the two-year mark of Pulse to honor and remember the 49 lives lost at the LGBTQ nightclub on June 12, 2016.

One place they visited was the Orlando County Regional History Center for its limited edition exhibit “Another Year Passes: Orlando After the Pulse Nightclub Massacre.”

More than a dozen people waited for the doors to open the morning of June 12 and see the exhibit. Visitors silently paid their respect to the fallen 49 angels. As patrons walk in, they were given the opportunity to write a message onto a colorful ribbon and tie it to the staircase leading up to the exhibit.

The exhibit, which will remain open through Oct. 14, focuses on what has changed for Orlando and how the community came together during one of its darkest times. The One Orlando Collective spent hundreds of hours curating and preserving over 5,000 artifacts from memorial and tribute sites in Orlando and around the world. Some of the artifacts contained in the exhibit include the iconic angel wings which were used to protect mourners from anti-LGBTQ groups and an IKEA couch filled with messages of love and eulogies to the 49.

Shenetra Harris, 32, is the sister of Tevin Crosby, who was murdered at Pulse.

“[The exhibit] was great. You got to learn about the people you didn’t know and it just brings you closer to what happened,” Harris says.

Harris was visiting Orlando from Statesville, North Carolina on the Pulse anniversary to mourn her late brother. “My brother passed away here so I come every year to support it, it makes me feel closer to him,” she says.

Along with Pulse, the exhibit also touches on a number of U.S. mass shootings since Pulse, including the Las Vegas shooting — which replaced Pulse as the nation’s deadliest mass shooting — and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

As patrons exit the exhibit, they are encouraged to take home a colorful paper crane to symbolize peace. They can also write their experiences following Pulse and hopes for the future on a large canvas by the exit.

“Another Year Passes” is open at the Orange County Regional History Center Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. 5 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.

Admission to the History Center is waived through June 16 and an online digital gallery of photos and memorial items paying tribute to the victims and survivors is available to view at OneOrlandoCollection.com.

For more information about “Another Year Passes: Orlando After the Pulse Nightclub Massacre,” visit TheHistoryCenter.org/Exhibition/Another-Year-Passes.

Photos by Layla Ferris.

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