THE GLBT History Museum: Free Admission on Harvey Milk Day

Harvey Milk preparing to speak following the Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco (June 1978). Photo: Crawford Barton, from the archives of GLBT Historical Society.
A young visitor to the GLBT History Museum listens intently to Harvey Milk’s recorded political will. A portrait of Milk is in the background. Photo: Gerard Koskovich.

The State of California annually marks Harvey Milk’s birthday, May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, as a statewide day of significance. The GLBT History Museum will honor the occasion this year by offering free admission to all visitors throughout the day. The museum is located at 4127 18th St. in San Francisco’s Castro District. It will be open 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Harvey Milk Day.

Harvey Milk (1930-1978) was the first openly gay elected official in California and one of the first in the United States. He served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for 11 months before he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were shot to death on November 27, 1978, by Dan White, a former board colleague of Milk’s. The GLBT History Museum commemorates Harvey Milk on an ongoing basis in a number of ways.

 

Queer Past Becomes Present,” the long-term exhibition in the museum’s Main Gallery, includes an exhibit on Milk’s life and death. Among the historical objects on display are the bullhorn Milk used to lead many protest marches and the suit he was wearing at the moment he was assassinated. Visitors also can hear Milk’s voice in the political will he recorded when he was serving on the Board of Supervisors.

 

In addition, the museum shop offers a reproduction of a historical t-shirt produced by the legal defense committee that raised funds on behalf of protesters arrested during the White Night Riot, an uprising that took place at San Francisco City Hall after a jury found Dan White guilty of manslaughter instead of murder in the killings of Milk and Moscone. Also available in the museum shop are reproductions of a t-shirt produced for Milk’s 1977 campaign for the Board of Supervisors, as well as postcards reproducing historical photographs of Milk.

Among the materials preserved in the archives of the GLBT Historical Society is the Harvey Milk and Scott Smith Collection, an extensive group of Milk’s personal belongings. The collection and other holdings in the society’s archives provide a vital resource for historians and others seeking to understand Milk’s story. Notably, the collections were used by the art directors and costume designers for Gus van Sant’s award-winning 2008 feature film “MILK” and by the producers of the recent ABC miniseries “When We Rise.”