San Francisco Board of Supervisors Approves Resolution of Support for New LGBTQ Museum

Artist’s conception of a possible New Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture. Drawing by Alan Martinez. 

The Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco voted on the evening of Tuesday, January 31, to approve a groundbreaking resolution calling on municipal authorities, philanthropists and business leaders to support the GLBT Historical Society’s efforts to develop a new LGBTQ museum and public history center in the city. Supervisor Jeff Sheehy introduced the resolution, which was cosponsored by Supervisor Jane Kim. The board voted unanimously in favor of the resolution.

“Our communities have existed since time immemorial, yet our histories continually get erased,” said Supervisor Sheehy. “As recently as 1933 in what had been fabulously queer Berlin, Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute of Sexual Research along with the Museum of Sex were destroyed by the Nazis — and people from our communities were taken to concentration camps. The last 10 days have reminded me of those times. Asserting our right to our history is not only about remembering our past, but is also a powerful act of resistance.” 

San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy (left) with Terry Beswick, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society.

Terry Beswick, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society, noted that “knowledge of the past is one of the cornerstones for building equality and respect for LGBTQ people and those who care about us. We envision the new museum as a source of learning and inspiration for everyone who cherishes social justice.”

“We are grateful to the Board of Supervisors for recognizing the importance of this vision and embracing our community’s long-held dream of creating a world-class museum of LGBTQ history and culture,” Beswick added.

Founded in 1985, the GLBT Historical Society preserves one of the largest LGBTQ archives in the United States and has maintained a small museum in San Francisco’s Castro District since 2011. It recently launched a campaign dubbed Vision2020 that aims to create the New Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture, a facility that will bring together the society’s galleries, programs and archives in a single high-visibility structure.

According to the GLBT Historical Society, only one other municipality in the world is known to have passed a resolution to support the establishment of an LGBTQ public history institution. In December 2014, the City Council of Paris voted to call on the mayor and other city officials to assist the creation of an LGBTQ community archives. The society adds that the only full-scale independent LGBTQ history museum and archives currently operating is the Schwules Museum, established in 1985 in Berlin.

 For more information on the Vision2020 initiative, click here.

STAGED READING Rhino in the Castro: “Blithe Spirit” by Noël Coward

STAGED READING
Rhino in the Castro: “Blithe Spirit” by Noël Coward
Monday, March 6

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: Free; $5.00 donation welcome

Sir Noël Coward (1972). Photo: Allan Warren

Theatre Rhinoceros, San Francisco’s groundbreaking queer stage company, has teamed up with the GLBT History Museum to present “Rhino in the Castro,” a series of readings of plays reflecting the LGBTQ community and our allies. The museum provides the space, and Rhino provides the scripts and actors. This month’s offering is “Blithe Spirit,” a classic 1941 comedy by gay author and celebrated wit Sir Noël Coward. The play centers on a fussy novelist, Charles Condomine, remarried but haunted by the ghost of his late first wife whose spirit is conjured up by a visiting “happy medium,” Madame Arcati. The Rhino’s reading discovers the queer connotations between the lines.

FUNDRAISER Out of Hibernation: Beartoonist Beer Bust at the Lone Star

FUNDRAISER
Out of Hibernation: Beartoonist Beer Bust at the Lone Star  
Sunday, March 12
4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
The Lone Star Saloon
1354 Harrison St., San Francisco
 

“Bear Pride” temporary chalk drawing by Fran Frisch at the Lone Star Saloon (circa 1995)

The Lone Star Saloon invites gay bears and their friends to a special beer bust to support the GLBT Historical Society and its current exhibition, “Beartoonist of San Francisco: Sketching an Emerging Subculture.” Exhibition curator Jeremy Prince will be on hand to make informal comments about the history of the bear subculture, and artwork and t-shirts by bear cartoonist Fran Frisch will be available for purchase. With spring on the way, the beer bust will be a great opportunity to come out of hibernation for a visit to the Lone Star, recently honored by the City of San Francisco as an officially recognized LGBTQ legacy business.

ANNIVERSARY PARTY: Turning 32, Turning Six, Turning Up the Music

Turning 32, Turning Six, Turning Up the Music 
Friday, March 17
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Tickets: $15.00 advance; $20 at the door

 

Thirty-two years ago, a band of queer history enthusiasts created the GLBT Historical Society to uncover and preserve stories of the LGBTQ past. Six years ago, we opened the doors of the GLBT History Museum in the Castro.
Join us at a double anniversary party to celebrate these milestones — and to raise funds for our spring makeover. The museum is showing a little age and needs a fresh face to better welcome visitors for the next four years. Proceeds of the party will help us redo the entry, reception desk and shop.

VivvyAnne ForeverMORE, Marga Gomez and Alex U. Inn will serve as hosts and entertainers, and DJ Marke B will play cool queer hits from the past four decades. Drinks and light refreshments will be provided. Wine donated by Beaux, Equality Wines and the Midnight Sun.

For advance tickets, visit the Eventbrite page.

OPEN HOUSE Behind the Scenes: The GLBT Historical Society Archives

OPEN HOUSE

Behind the Scenes: The GLBT Historical Society Archives
Saturday, March 18
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
GLBT Historical Society Archives
989 Market St., Lower Level, San Francisco
Admission: Free

Managing archivist Joanna Black in the archives of the GLBT Historical Society. Photo by Gerard Koskovich.

The GLBT Historical Society preserves one of the world’s largest collections of LGBTQ historical materials. The archives are used by historians, writers, filmmakers and others researchers, yet they remain little known to the wider community. This special open house will offer members of the public a behind-the-scenes tour, including a rare opportunity to visit the archival reserve normally accessible only to Historical Society staff.

Managing archivist Joanna Black will provide an introduction to the collections and the function of the archives. Visitors also will have a chance to see highlights from the holdings that have never before been displayed publicly. Guided tours of the archives will take place at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. To reserve a free ticket, RSVP no later than 3:00 p.m. on March 17 via Eventbrite.