About The GLBT History Museum
Located in San Francisco's Castro District, The GLBT History Museum is the first full-scale, stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States. The museum celebrates 100 years of the city's vast queer past
through dynamic and surprising exhibitions and programming. To support the museum by becoming a member or
donor, click here.
Queer Past Becomes Present now open
The GLBT History Museum’s Main Gallery has been remodeled and and is now showing “Queer Past Becomes Present,” the first entirely-new exhibition since the museum opened in 2011.
The topics included in the exhibition are:
Queer Youth: Out and Active
"Queer Youth" traces the activism of San Francisco Bay Area LGBTQQ youth 25 and under from the 1970s to the present.
The Assassination of Supervisor Harvey Milk
This section looks at one of the most horrific events in queer history, the assassination of activist and San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, and includes related artifacts, photographs and an excerpt from Milk's political will.
José Sarria: Activist and Entertainer
Costumes, artifacts, and ephemera document the life of José Sarria, "The Nightingale of Montgomery Street," from his days waiting tables and performing at the Black Cat Café through his historic run as the first openly gay candidate for public office in the United States.
Constructing Jiro Onuma: Putting the Pieces Together
"Constructing Jiro Onuma" details how history is a dynamic process involving continuous excavation and discovery through the personal collection of Japanese immigrant Jiro Onuma. His collection offers the only known visual documentation of same-sex intimacy in the Japanese American incarceration camps.
Fighting for Our Lives: Four Organizations Respond to AIDS
A look at four pioneering Bay Area organizations that fought for a greater response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic: People with AIDS-SF, the ARC/AIDS Vigil, the National Task Force for AIDS Prevention and WORLD (Women Organized in Response to Life-threatening Diseases).
Gayborhoods: Lost Queer Landscapes
Using unique artifacts and images, this exhibit recaptures the clubs, bars, restaurants, and other venues of three vibrant queer communities - North Beach, the Tenderloin, and the Valencia Street corridor - now all merely memories.
History is Now: The Dragon Fruit Project
"History is Now" showcases an intergenerational historical preservation project within the queer Asian Pacific Islander community.
The Lesbians of The Ladder: Courage Under Attack
In 1955 a small group -- many of them women of color - courageously founded the Daughters of Bilitis, a social club for lesbians. The organization's publication, the Ladder, quickly became a lifeline for women across the country struggling to come out in a virulently homophobic society.
The Front Gallery features periodically changing shows, often focused on historic queer photography.
1964: The Year San Francisco Came Out
This exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of an infamous LIFE magazine article that catapulted San Francisco into national consciousness as the “gay capital” of America.
The Community Gallery space features small, focused shows, often marking the anniversary of an organization or event that has played a significant role in the history of the GLBT community in Northern California. The exhibits partner community curators with museum professionals to create new perspectives on Bay Area queer history.
4 Decades of Bay Area Bisexual Politics
Drawing on materials from the personal archives of longtime bisexual activists as well as the holdings of the GLBT Historical Society’s archives, the Biconic Flashpoints exhibit showcases never-displayed artifacts, video, and photos from key moments in the Bay Area’s bisexual political history.
The GLBT Historical Society and The GLBT History Museum have mounted or sponsored several exhibitions available for viewing on an ongoing basis on the Web:
Passionate Struggle: Dynamics of San Francisco's GLBT History. An overview of the exhibition at our pop-up museum in 2008–2009. Tracing elements of our communities’ affinities and differences, the show took visitors from the bedrooms and back rooms to the bookstores and bars, from Harvey Milk’s victories to transgender sex workers’ riots, from social movements to secret fantasies. View here.
Lineage: Matchmaking in the Archives.
GLBT Historical Society artist-in-residence E. G. Crichton has been matching living artists to the archives of the dead, asking each artist to invent a response in any medium. To see all work created so far, visit the Queer Cultural Center online gallery.
Dykes on Bikes: 30 Years at the Forefront.
Cocurator Glenne McElhinney leads a fast and informative video tour of exhibition shown at the GLBT Historical Society in 2008. Watch it now.
OutRanks: GLBT Military Service From World War II to the Iraq War. An overview of the 2007 exhibition created by guest curator Steve Estes — the first museum show in the U.S. to focus on the experience of GLBT servicemembers
and the American military policy on homosexuality. View here.
Capturing the Moment: The Photojournalism of Rick Gerharter. View the inaugural exhibit on our Flickr site: “Capturing the Moment: The Photojournalism of Rick Gerharter,” an encore version of a gallery exhibition shown at the GLBT Historical Society in 2006. View here.
Council on Religion and the Homosexual.
The LGBT Religious Archives Network and the GLBT Historical Society present this special exhibit, which portrays the early years of the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, a ground-breaking coalition of religious and homosexual activists in San Francisco in the mid-1960s. View here.