New York City, NY

The Oldest Museum in New York Will Soon House First Ever LGBTQ+ History Museum

Synthia Stark
Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash

New York City, New York is getting its first-ever museum dedicated to the culture and history of LGBTQIA+ communities. This will be housed within the city's oldest museum called the New-York Historical Society.

A Brief History

For those not aware, the New-York Historical Society is the oldest museum in New York City. It even predates the Metropolitan Museum of Art by nearly seventy years.

It was established in 1804 and had 11 founders at the time:

  1. Anthony Bleecker
  2. David Hosack
  3. DeWitt Clinton
  4. Egbert Benson
  5. John M. Mason
  6. John N. Abeel
  7. John Pintard
  8. Peter G. Stuyvesant
  9. Samuel Bayard
  10. Samuel Miller
  11. William Linn

Each one of these founders lives through the trials and tribulations of the American Revolution and the British occupation of New York. Each believed that New York citizens deserve to know, understand, and appreciate their local history.

Expansion Plan to Include LGTBQ+ Museum

In the modern era, the New-York Historical Society is going through a major expansion plan. This expansion plan is paid in part by a $35 million grant from New York's Department of Cultural Affairs and will be helmed by the Robert A.M. Stern Architects, who are also based in New York City.

This plan will expand the New-York Historical Society museum by more than 70,000 square feet and will house the prospective American LGBTQ+ Museum. The LGBTQ+ Museum will take up the entire fourth floor.

There are also plans to create a five-story addition.

Expansion to Help Academy for American Democracy Education Initiative

Furthermore, the classrooms associated with the Historical Society will get more space for an education center for the Academy for American Democracy education initiative. This initiative will provide many valuable resources for the 30,000 public school students throughout New York City.

Schools can sign up for their application on a first-come-first-serve rolling basis, while children from non-traditional schools can also sign up too.
Photo by Mary Taylor from Pexels

Expansion to Optimize Master of Arts in Museum Studies Program

Graduate students will also benefit. You see the New-York Historical Society and the CUNY School of Professional Studies have a Master of Arts in Museum Studies program. Galleries will serve to help those graduate students and to help diversify the New York cultural workforce.

To apply to this program, you will need things like:

  • A proper bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • A personal statement
  • A proper resume
  • One letter of recommendation

The Need to Document and Preserve LGBTQ+ History

For the forthcoming American LGBTQ+ Museum, Richard Burns, the board chair of this initiative, has identified that this program has been in the works since 2017. It all started when a bunch of local activists came up with the idea.

“Suddenly we’ve reached this moment, a tipping point where more and more people are saying, ‘We better record this history, integrate it and celebrate it before we lose it."

It makes a lot of sense. Cultural erasure is never a good thing, so it's great that the New-York Historical Society is willing to document and preserve important milestones and pieces surrounding the LGBTQ+.

Since 2018, the board of directors began raising money for the program. In 2019, they decided to create a museum charter specifically.

If these plans come into fruition, the new museum will basically tell the untold stories of people both alive and lost, throughout American (and especially New York) history. It will also complement the downtown Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art.

How The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art Ties In

This museum will complement the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art as it is the only other dedicated LGBTQ+ museum in New York.

As for the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, documentation, exhibition, promotion, and preservation of LGBTQ+ art is also just as important. They have a unique collection of over 30,000 artworks since the year 1969.

1969 is an important year since it was weeks before the Stonewall uprising occurred. For those not aware of what Stonewall is, here's a video that explains it in better detail:

LGBTQ+ Museum to Open By 2024

Harking back to the New-York Historical Society, the phased project will begin summer of 2022, with hopes that it will be completed by 2024.

For many people in New York City, New York, particularly those who are LGBTQ+, or allies/friends to the LGBTQ+, you can check out the New-York Historical Society and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art websites for more information.

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Writer & Researcher | Therapist-in-Training | Crisis Responder | Writing wholesome stories for the masses.

New York City, NY

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