New Yorkers will be able to learn about the rich history of the LGBTQ+ community with an entire dedicated museum that just began construction.
And NYC’s newest museum will actually be part of one of the city’s oldest — the New-York Historical Society on the Upper West Side.
Earlier this month, the city broke ground on the American L.G.B.T.Q.+ Museum, which will “preserve, investigate, and celebrate the dynamic histories and cultures of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, as well as those of the emergent and adjacent identities among our communities,” according to their website. It will be the first museum in New York (and possibly the country) completely dedicated to LGBTQ+ history!
It’s part of a much larger expansion of the New-York Historical Society, but once finished The American LGBTQ+ Museum will occupy the entire fourth floor of the new building and include two galleries, access to the roof garden, plus offices and storage.
A team has been working to make it happen since at least 2017, when the “planning taskforce” first met. They interviewed museum-planning firms and began raising money for the project in 2018. Then, they conducted a year-long study among 3,200 LGBTQ+ people nationwide—including historians, academics, activists, social service providers, students, museum professionals, archivists, writers, and the general public.
Here are some other goals of the museum, as written on their site:
- Illuminate LGBTQ+ history as integral to human history
- Preserve artifacts, personal stories, and intangible heritage that are being lost every day
- Educate our communities on the evolving, complex, and sometimes internally contentious narratives of LGBTQ+ history
- Provide a physical space for LGBTQ+ people that fosters individual dignity and unifies across generations and differences
- Support a new generation of activists to advance social change
It will be colorful, lively, immersive, and exploratory, running counter to common conceptions of museums. In addition to an active public space, galleries, programming areas, and amenities, there will be some contemplative spaces.
The initial timeline for the museum expects an opening in 2024.