Twenty years after his death, the legacy of Matthew Shepard will be preserved at a national museum.
Shepard's parents donated some of his personal belonging to the National Museum of American History on Thursday. The donation came one day before their son's ashes were scheduled to the laid to rest at the Washington National Cathedral.
The items donated to the museum included a Superman cape Shepard wore as a child, fair ribbons and his pre-school diploma.
"The Superman cape was part of Matt's wardrobe for quite some time. There's wear holes on the cape," Shepard's mother, Judy Shepard, laughed.
Shepard's parents hope the items will teach others that their son was just like everyone else.
"I hope they learn about Matt that he was just like every other child," Shepard's mother, Judy Shepard said. "Every other child had a Superman cape. Every other child had a pre-school diploma. There was nothing different about Matt other than who he loved."
On Oct. 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten, tied to a fence and left to die outside Laramie, Wyoming. He died in a hospital six days later.
The gruesome nature of the crime threw a spotlight on the hatred, violence and discrimination endured by LGBTQ individuals and communities in towns and cities across America.
In the years since his death, Shepard's parents have advocated for the rights of the LGBTQ community, creating the Matthew Shepard Foundation in his memory.