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The time has come to tell the story of LGBTQ+ people, commemorate and celebrate our journey, and inspire pride.

Visitors will be enlightened, entertained, and exposed to our culture as well as a documented history otherwise unavailable or difficult to access.

quote icon LGBTQ+ history is especially urgent because our communities have emerged from denial, repression, and invisibility into acceptance, pride and full societal participation. This Museum helps forge the future by documenting our past. Urvashi Vaid, Attorney, Writer, Activist
Founding Board Member, American LGBTQ+ Museum


The American LGBTQ+ Museum preserves, investigates, and celebrates the dynamic histories and cultures of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, as well as those of the emergent and adjacent identities among our communities. Using exhibitions and programs, we seek to advance LGBTQ+ equality through the lens of social justice movements, including, but not limited to, race, gender, class, immigration, and disability.

We envision a world in which all people work toward and experience the joy of liberation.

20th December 1989: Portrait of American author, AIDS campaigner and gay rights activist Larry Kramer, founder of ACT‑UP and the Gay Men's Health Crisis group, posing in front of a book shelf in his home, New York City. Kramer is wearing a 'SILENCE = DEATH' T‑shirt. (Photo by Sara Krulwich/New York Times Co./Getty Images)



We are committed to a world wherein power is equitably shared among all people, including LGBTQ+ people.


We are mindful of the multi-layered identities of LGBTQ+ people and communities, and we are committed to diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of our work.

Honesty and Transparency

We share our decisions and processes, and we welcome critique and feedback.


We take risks and advocate for the needs of all LGBTQ+ communities, including addressing areas of tension and difference among us.


We are of the community. We work through shared authority and partnership with those who have come before us and those who work alongside us.


We take pride in the victories and resilience of our communities, and we draw inspiration from that energy to continue in our pursuit of liberation.

Why Now

While other great institutions and organizations exist to investigate, preserve, and tell our histories, we believe a national LGBTQ+ museum is overdue.

How can our community effectively and proudly face the challenges ahead of us without knowing where we have been? How can we control the narrative about who we are, if we don’t have a space for sharing our stories with the broader community and enshrining our position in American society? The forthcoming Museum will seek to:

  • Illuminate LGBTQ+ history as integral to human history
  • Preserve artifacts, personal stories, and intangible heritage that are being lost every day
  • Educate our communities on the evolving, complex, and sometimes internally contentious narratives of LGBTQ+ history
  • Provide a physical space for LGBTQ+ people that fosters individual dignity and unifies across generations and differences
  • Support a new generation of activists to advance social change

How did we get here?

Rigorous Research

This concept for the Museum is based on a year-long study that engaged over 3,200 LGBTQ+ people nationwide—including historians, academics, activists, social service providers, students, museum professionals, archivists, writers, and the general public across as many demographic intersections as possible. Our research intentionally sought out the perspectives of LGBTQ+ people whose stories are too often overlooked, including those who identify as transgender, gender non-conforming, and/or as people of color.

  • 2,822 LGBTQ+ individuals nationwide
  • 178 leaders shaping LGBTQ+ research, culture, services, policy, and media
  • 144 LGBTQ+ New Yorkers in 15 bilingual focus groups in all five boroughs
  • 33 museum leaders and market experts
  • 18 LGBTQ+ historians and academics
NEW YORK ‑ 1988: Drag ball in 1988 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Catherine McGann/Getty Images)

What We Found

Research consistently revealed urgency, support, and excitement for the Museum provided that it lives by its stated values of inclusivity, intersectionality, transparency, and collaboration.

  • Vibrant, colorful, and welcoming environment
  • Bold intersectional content and programs that deliver on diversity, equity, access, and inclusion
  • Responsive curatorial practice that capture evolving narratives and embrace shared authority
  • Fearless engagement with our communities
  • Immersive signature experiences that bring our history to life
  • Alliances with institutional and community partners to share collections, conduct research, produce programs, and share space



The American Museum of LGBT History & Culture Planning Task Force” convenes for the first time on January 5, 2017.


  • The New York City Council votes to support planning of the Museum
  • The Founders Council pledges additional planning support
  • The Fund for the City of New York becomes fiscal sponsor
  • AK Cultural Planning hired to do foundational visitor research


  • Begin our partnership with The New-York Historical Society
  • NY State Board of Regents grants educational charter on February 19, 2019
  • Market analysis and national survey completed
  • Round 1 stakeholder engagement completed
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  • Solidify our developing partnership with The New-York Historical Society
  • Continue to build our Board of Directors to reflect the full diversity of our LGBTQ+ communities
  • Begin strategic implementation plan; 5-year operating plan; business plan


  • Launched Museum website
  • Museum obtains 501c(3) status
  • Ceremonial Groundbreaking at New-York Historical society


  • Inaugural Executive Director hired
  • Public Programs launch in collaboration with New-York Historical Society
  • Museum board grows to 30


  • Museum develops inaugural traveling exhibition, Queer Justice, in collaboration with Lambda Legal
  • Design Development for the museum’s first home at New-York Historical Society begins
  • Launched museum membership program
  • Participated in Pride celebrations throughout New York City
  • Launched $30 million comprehensive campaign, Making History Together