The oldest museum in New York will soon be home to the city’s first museum dedicated to LGBTQ+ history and culture.
As the first museum in the city dedicated to LGBTQ+ history and culture, the museum’s purpose is to document and preserve personal stories and artifacts from the LGBTQ+ community—stories the museum says “are being lost every day”. Using programs and exhibition space, the museum also hopes to educate communities, support a new generation of activists, and provide a vibrant and welcoming physical space for the LGBTQ+ community.
The concept came about after a task force was set up in 2017 to discuss the project, which won backing from New York City Council the following year. Not to mention the decades-long call from activists to document the queer movement and its pivotal role in America’s social history. What followed was a year-long study that engaged over 32000 LGBTQ+ people nationwide, across as many demographic intersections as possible. Through its research, the museum says it intentionally sought out the perspectives of people whose stories are often overlooked, including those who identify as transgender, gender non-conforming, and/or as people of color in the LGBTQ+ community across the country.
“The respect and rigor with which New-York Historical has approached this process, including their consultation with local communities, mirrors our own commitment to building a thoughtful, welcoming, queer, and inclusive experience for our visitors and partners,” said Richard Burns, chair of the board of directors for The American LGBTQ+ Museum.
Upon completion, The American LGBTQ+ Museum will occupy entire fourth floor of the new wing and will encompass two galleries. The design for the new wing is by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and was unanimously approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission for “its respect for the past and solicitation of community input.”
While the new building is under construction, The American LGBTQ+ Museum will partner with New-York Historical to develop programming in the museum’s existing building and outdoor spaces as early as 2022, and it has already begun hosting digital programs in advance of its grand opening in 2024. To learn more about The American LGBTQ+ Museum, or to sign up for an upcoming digital event, see here.