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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 14, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 02
San Francisco opens first LGBT history museum in the USA
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San Francisco opens first LGBT history museum in the USA

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Internationally renowned as a center for GLBT culture, San Francisco will soon welcome yet another groundbreaking Queer institution: The GLBT History Museum.

A project of the GLBT Historical Society, an archival and research center established in 1985, the new museum will be the first of its kind in the United States, and only the second in the world.

The formal grand opening took place January 13, and included a preview for sponsors, donors and special guests, followed by a ribbon-cutting and reception open to the public.

'A quarter century after the founding of the GLBT Historical Society, we're proud to open a museum to showcase our community's history,' said Paul Boneberg, executive director of the Historical Society. 'The GLBT History Museum is in the heart of the Castro, a neighborhood visited not only by locals, but also by tens of thousands of tourists every year who come in search of Queer culture. At our museum, they'll discover treasures from our archives that reflect fascinating stories spanning nearly a century of GLBT life. We have gone all out to create a museum as rich, diverse, and surprising as the GLBT community itself. Whether they are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, or straight, visitors are sure to be moved, enlightened and entertained.'

Located at 4127 18th St., the museum includes 1,600 square feet of gallery and program space built to the specifications of the Historical Society, with custom fixtures, lighting, and multimedia installations reflecting professional standards. Funding has come from Levi's, the City of San Francisco, Castro district merchants, and numerous other sponsors and individual donors. Regular hours for The GLBT History Museum will be Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5:00 p.m. Admission: $5.00; free for members. For more information, call 415-621-1107 or visit www.glbthistory.org

The GLBT History Museum joins the Schwules Museum, the Queer museum founded 25 years ago in Berlin, as one of only two stand-alone, full-scale museums devoted to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender history. A number of other LGBT archives and libraries also offer periodic exhibitions in the same location as their research collections or in space borrowed on an occasional basis from other organizations.

The museum will feature two debut exhibitions: In the main gallery, 'Our Vast Queer Past: Celebrating GLBT History,' curated by historians Gerard Koskovich, Don Romesburg, and Amy Sueyoshi; and in the front gallery, 'Great Collections of the GLBT Historical Society Archives.'

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