About The GLBT History Museum

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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.


New Exhibit Artist Rendering

Remodeled Gallery, All-New Exhibition
Queer Past Becomes Present to open May 15

The GLBT History Museum’s Main Gallery is currently closed for remodeling and the installation of the first entirely-new exhibition since the museum opened in 2011. On May 15, “Queer Past Becomes Present” will open.

Craig Harris, who created the overall museum design three years ago, has returned to design the new Main Gallery exhibit. Elisabeth Cornu, formerly with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, is leading the installation team.

The new gallery will be darker in background color and more clearly delineated from the front of the museum, which will allow us to feature more multi-media.

The lead curators of Queer Past Becomes Present are Jim Van Buskirk, coauthor of Gay By the Bay, and Dr. Amy Sueyoshi, author of Queer Compulsions and Associate Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. Associate curators include Juliet Demeter, Paul Boneberg, Darren Arquero and Dave Reichard.

The Museum's Main Gallery will be closed through May 14 while the new exhibition is installed.  During that period, the Front Gallery and Store will be open and admission will be waived.


SF Gay Men's Chorus

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."

Community Gallery

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.

The Community Gallery will be closed during the remodeling of the Main Gallery, and will open May 15..

Online Exhibitions

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.


Donate to the GLBT Historical Society

4127 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(between Castro &
Collingwood streets)

Days & Hours
Monday & Wednesday – Saturday:
 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday: Noon – 5 p.m.
Tuesday: Closed

The Museum will be closed April 10-16 for new exhibit construction. The back gallery will be closed for the month of April. Admission will be waived for the month, while installation is taking place.

General: $5.00
California Students (with ID): $3.00
Members: Free
First Wednesday of the Month: Free for all visitors (sponsored by the Bob Ross Foundation)

Programs & Events
The museum regularly sponsors programs and events such as history talks, panels, author readings and film showings. For the latest listings, visit the GLBT Historical Society home page

Audio Tour
An audio tour available in English, German, Japanese and Spanish is included with admission to the museum. Visitors can call in from their cellphones or smartphones to hear the curators tell the fascinating stories behind the exhibitions and the artifacts on display.

Group Tours
Docent-led group tours are available by appointment for groups of 10 or more. To book a tour, write to museum manager, Jeremy Prince at jeremy@glbthistory.org. Tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance and are subject to docent availability.

.Phone & E-mail
(415) 621-1107

Museum Store

Looking for that perfect gift for the history buff in your life? Searching for the ideal mug to tastefully signal "Hey, I'm queer" at the office? Ready to buy a smart homo t-shirt for yourself — or even an LGBT-friendly apron for that backyard barbecue? The GLBT History Museum store offers all this and more. To start shopping, click here.

Getting Involved

The GLBT Historical Society maintains its museum in San Francisco's Castro District with generous help from foundations, business sponsors, individual donors and volunteers. You can join in supporting this long-held dream of the community by arranging a sponsorship, making a donation, signing on as a volunteer — or all three! For more details, click on the links below:

Sponsorship Opportunities
Donor Opportunities
Volunteer Opportunities

Sponsors & Supporters

Sponsors of The GLBT History Museum
City & County of San Francisco: Grants for the Arts

Presenting Sponsor
Bob Ross Foundation
Council on Library and Information Resources National Hostorical Publications and Records Commission
Real Bad (Grassroots Gay Rights West)
Real Bad

Platinum Sponsors
David R. Kessler, M.D.
Levi Strauss
Wells Fargo Foundation

Gold Sponsors
AAA Northern California, Utah & Nevada Insurance Exchange

Badlands & Toad Hall
Al Baum & Robert Holgate
John Bell & Jason Spicer
Harvey's Restaurant
Human Rights Campaign
Gerard Koskovich Queer Antiquarian Books
Chris Lewis & Todd Reasinger
Mark Rhoades
Emily Rosenberg & Darlene de Manincor
Earl Stokes & Ross Moore
Andreas Weigend

Silver Sponsors
Bank of the West
Troy Barber & Dan Stewart
Abraham Brown & Jim Stephens
Tom Burtch & Neil Austen
Community Thrift Store
Elisabeth Cornu
Robert Dockendorff
Chris Lewis & Todd Reasinger
Terence Kissack & Mark Coleman
Peter Lundberg & James Mowdy
John Raines
James Neale
See's Candies
Sterling Art Services

John Alecca
Nancy Andrews
Gary Booher
Gray Clossman Darryl Carbonaro
Paul Christensen
Community Safety Foundation
Diana Coopersmith
William Dickey
Mark Dimunation
Calvin Doucet
Andrew Ferguson
Gary Gansle
Kevin Gerber
Jerome Goldstein
Tim Gullicksen
Eric Hallquist
Tomlinson Holman
James Hormel & Michael Nguyen
Mario Hubert
Jack Lasner
Jason Macario & Steve Holst
Todd Martin
Michael Moniz
Trenton Norris
Ken Prog
Merle Rabine
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
Stephen Murray & Keelung Hong
William Patterson
Rainbow Grocery Cooperative
Kerry Romesburg & Judy Romesburg Gustavo Torres
Underglass Custom Framing
James Williams
Anders Winther & David Pike
Michael Yang & Jim Krenz

The Estates of Judy Freespirit, Archibald Wilson & Hank Wilson

Museum Media

Museum Backgrounder

Selected Coverage