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.
Our Vast Queer Past:
Celebrating San Francisco's GLBT History
"Our Vast Queer Past" offers a kaleidoscopic view of queer experience in San Francisco and the Bay Area, raising new questions about familiar gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender histories and evoking previously untold stories that speak eloquently about our diversity.
The exhibition doesn’t form a single narrative; our history is too varied and unruly to be limited in that way. Instead, it brings together multiple stories, sometimes interlinking, sometimes isolated, sometimes in conflict.
All of them reflect deeply human themes: the search for companionship and pleasure; the struggle for self-determination and respect in an often-hostile society; the value of individual and collective expression; and the spirit, ingenuity and wit that have been keys to our survival
The exhibition is divided into the following thematic and biographical sections:
• Finding Our Hidden Histories
• Consuming Queers: The GLBT Marketplace
• The Strategy of Equality
• Body Politics: Questioning the Ideal
• Adrienne Fuzee: Queer Arts Visionary
• Faith: Inside/Outside/Against
• Drag: Fashioning Our Existence
• On the Margin: Queers & Poverty
• Queers of Color Organizing
• Lou Sullivan: A Life Transformed
• Jiro Onuma: Undocumented/Documented
• Bar Life: Going Out
• Bathhouses: Coming Together or Waiting Outside?
• Lesbian Sex Wars
• Leather: Dark Desires, Public Pleasures
• Bois Burk: Under Surveillance
• Premarital Bonds: Creating Family Before Marriage Equality
• Out of the Closets & Into the Streets
• Military Matters: Divergent Duties
• Bearing the Scars: Violence & Trauma
• HIV/AIDS: Grief, Solidarity, Determination
Gerard Koskovich, independent scholar, editor and antiquarian book dealer; founding member of the GLBT Historical Society.
Don Romesburg, assistant professor of women's and gender studies at Sonoma State University, Sonoma, Calif.
Amy Sueyoshi, associate dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.
The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus:
Celebrating 35 Years of Activism Through Song
Founded in 1978 as the first openly gay choral group in the world, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has performed for music lovers in the Bay Area and across the United States. Its rousing songs have accompanied the journey of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community for more than three decades. The little-known history of this enduring musical institution is the subject of The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus: Celebrating 35 Years of Activism Through Song.
Drawing on comprehensive archives that the chorus donated to the GLBT Historical Society, the exhibition foregrounds the group’s musical advocacy. In addition to posters, artifacts and photographs, the show features an interactive sound-and-video monitor. The displays highlight contributions of the chorus at key moments from the memorial march following the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978 to public celebrations of marriage equality in 2013.
"The chorus isn't just about making music," notes lead curator and longtime chorus member Tom Burtch. "Our performances have always been about making social change, too. Our singing has supported our community in its calls for equality, its hours of grief, its expressions of love and its celebrations of triumph. The exhibition doesn't just tell the story of the chorus; it also highlights the remarkable history of more than three decades of the movement for GLBT equality."
The Corner 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.
Running through Mar. 9, 2014: Vicki Marlane: I'm Your Lady, a new multimedia exhibit spotlighting the life of Vicki Marlane, a transwoman and drag performer who got her start as a carny in the early 1950s, rose to fame as a female impersonator in the 1960s, and in her third act, became a beloved San Francisco community icon leading shows at Aunt Charlie’s Lounge until her death at age 76 in 2011.
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.