San Francisco is poised to be the home of the first full-scale queer history museum in the United States. Putting the GLBT Historical Society Museum & Archives closer to this goal was the completion in October of a “Feasibility Study” and “Market and Financial Analysis.” They were preceded by an “Interpretive Report” and additional planning work.
Gallagher & Associates, an internationally recognized museum planning and design firm, has been among those involved in the process. Former San Francisco Bay Times columnist and District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman is also involved.
“These reports assure us that with the growth we have experienced in the last few years, the GLBT Historical Society can afford to operate and sustain a full-scale museum with earned and contributed revenues,” wrote Terry Beswick, the Society’s Executive Director. “This museum is about shining the light of truth. It is about joining our community together with our allies to claim our own hallowed ground. It’s about letting our stories breathe and give life and inspiration to our young to take on the challenges of today and to give pride and respect to the old.”
Beswick informed us that one site being explored is the former location of Pottery Barn at 2390 Market Street. If this site is selected, the project would likely include both the envisioned museum on the ground floor and housing above. The cost for such development at the large, crossroads location—estimated at around $15 million—is clearly steep, but the organizers are hoping to leverage both city and state funds.
Renderings in the Feasibility Study indicate that the space could include a café/bar, multi-purpose event space, large exhibit gallery, the archive collection vault, conference room, reading room, and more.
Fundraising has begun for Vision 2020, the ambitious effort to establish the new full-scale LGBTQ museum and research center. Those who donate by December 31, 2019, will have their donations matched up to a total of $50,000 by The Excelerate Foundation, Emily Rosenberg and Darlene deManincor, and Al Baum and Robert Holgate.
As Beswick shared, “On the day when we open the doors to our community’s new museum, we will right a grave wrong: the erasure of our people’s history. We will claim our permanent place in the firmament of San Francisco’s history and culture.
And we will celebrate our vision for a better future, when all young queer and trans kids are accepted for who they are and are given the chance to live with honesty and truth, love who they want and reach their fullest potential.”