The future American LGBTQ+ Museum finds a home in Manhattan

New York City is home to one of the world's most vibrant LGBTQ communities and was the backdrop for the birth of the modern gay rights movement. Now that history will finally have a home in the form of the American LGBTQ+ Museum

"It will be the first time that the story of the history of the LGBTQ+ community is told inside the walls of a major museum in New York," said Louise Mirrer, the president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society.

The museum will be housed inside the New-York Historical Society, which is the city's oldest museum, and will be part of a 70,000-square-foot, $140 million expansion of the existing building on Central Park West on the Upper West Side.

"The expansion itself is an ambition the New York Historical Society has had since 1937 when it purchased lots west of our building," Mirrer said.

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The New-York Historical Society has featured a number of LGBTQ+ exhibits, making it a natural fit to host a separate museum.

"Now is the right time to make sure we record and take a look at the stories of the lives of so many lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people who have lived in New York and around America," board member Richard Burns said. "This museum will tell those stories."

The museum will feature the history of iconic movements like the Stonewall Uprising, and will also highlight the lives of ordinary gay people who lost their lives to AIDS, along with stories of activists and gay celebrities like Billy Jean King, whose personal archive is already part of the Historical Society's collection.

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Burns said the museum will be physical, digital, and immersive.

"The stories we will tell will definitely be interactive, there will be places to learn but also, what would it be like to be in the Stonewall riots?" Burns said. "Can we have a virtual experience so people can understand what would it be like to be afraid of being yourself, of being an openly gay person?"

Construction on the addition to the Historical Society is set to begin next year. The American LGBTQ+ Museum is expected in 2024.