American LGBTQ+ Museum coming to New York Historical Society

American LGBTQ+ Museum

The 70,000-square-foot expansion at the New-York Historical Society will include an entire floor dedicated to the new American LGBTQ+Museum. Photo: Courtesy Robert A.M. Stern Architects

The New York Historical Society, a museum and library dedicated to telling the stories of America’s largest city, announced a major expansion, which will include an entire floor dedicated to the forthcoming American LGBTQ+ Museum.

The addition to the Historical Society’s building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side will add 70,000 square feet of additional classrooms, galleries, collection study areas, and a “state-of-the-art compact storage facility.” Once complete, the Historical Society’s fourth floor will become the American LGBTQ+ Museum, which has been in the works for at least four years.

“We’re delighted to partner with New York’s foremost museum of history to build a new museum dedicated to an exploration and celebration of the richness and diversity of LGBTQ+ history and culture in America,” Richard Burns, chair, board of directors, The American LGBTQ+ Museum, said in a statement.

“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. We look forward to bringing a dynamic new museum to life within this cherished, deeply-respected, and growing New York City landmark.”

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The American LGBTQ+ Museum is not the first space to tell the story of queer history. The GLBT Historical Society Museum and Archives in San Francisco has been open since 2012, and is 

often referred to as the city’s “queer Smithsonian.”

It’s the first full-scale, stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States.

The 1,600-square-foot museum is part of the GLBT Historical Society, which houses one of the world’s largest collections of LGBTQ historical materials, including a rare look at gay life on Japanese internment camps during World War II.

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The Historical Society expansion is being designed by renowned firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects, with work expected to begin next year.

The American LGBTQ+ Museum, which includes notable queer activists and notables like Urvashi Vaid, Tiq Milan, and Benj Pasek on its board of trustees, describes its mission as thus: 

“The American LGBTQ+ Museum preserves, investigates, and celebrates 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. Using exhibitions and programs, we seek to advance LGBTQ+ equality through the lens of social justice movements, including, but not limited to, race, gender, class, immigration, and disability.

“We envision a world in which all people work toward and experience the joy of liberation.”

An opening date for the museum is yet to be determined.

This article originally appeared on Advocate.com, and is shared here as part of an LGBTQ+ community exchange between Q Voice News and Pride Media.

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Neal Broverman

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