Soon-to-be National LGBTQ History Museum appoints new director – INTO
The American LGBTQ+ Museum, which will be the second museum dedicated solely to American LGBTQ history and culture in the country, has named Ben Garcia as its first executive director.
“I have spent 20 years working in museums dedicated to ensuring that they are places that promote everyone’s self-discovery, that welcome everyone, that work with paradigms of inclusion and equity , and so to work for a museum that we get to create from all the fabric, that right from the start can have those values and the beauty of the diversity of that community is – I mean, I just can’t believe that I can do this,” Garcia told the New York Times, who first broke the news yesterday.
“The American LGBTQ+ Museum preserves, studies, and celebrates the vibrant histories and cultures of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, as well as those of emerging and adjacent identities within our communities,” reads their statement. of mission. “Using exhibits 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.
For almost the past three years up to now, Garcia had served as deputy executive director and director of learning for the Ohio History Connection, and vice president of the Association of Midwest Museums for the past two. Previously, he spent five years at the Museum of Us in San Diego, two at the National Art Education Association (NAEA), three and a half years at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology in Berkeley, California, and six years at the museum J. Paul Getty.
In short, he knows museum operations well. It was selected by a search committee made up of eight of the American LGBTQ+ Museum’s board members. Board chairman and committee member Richard Burns had served as interim executive director prior to Garcia’s selection. Old IN editor Zach Stafford is also a member of the board.
The organization made the announcement on the fifth anniversary of their establishment.
The museum will be in ‘incubation’ with the New York Historical Society, the oldest museum in the state, and they will share space when the latter’s expansion is complete and the former physically opens, which they plan to do. to begin in 2024. Currently, the museum is already hosting virtual events and operating on social media. They held a groundbreaking ceremony in September. Then-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaker Corey Johnson, and LGBTQ legends Billie Jean King, Andre De Shields, and Imara Jones attended.
It will only be the second museum dedicated to homosexuals in New York, in addition to the Leslie-Lohman Museum.
Exhibits on LGBTQ history have become more common, but currently there are very few physical museums or institutions dedicated to LGBTQ learning or history in the world. There is “A charity working to create the UK’s first national LGBTQ+ museum” called Queer Britain, which began work in 2018. The organization similarly works online and organizes events mainly virtual.
Previously, the National LGBT Museum, organized by the Velvet Foundation, aimed to open the first LGBTQ museum in the United States, originally planned for Washington DC, but later also planned for placement in New York. The project became inactive in 2016, although its website and details of their planned main exhibition I am here remains available.
The GLBT Historical Society Museum, operated by the San Francisco-based GLBT Historical Society, opened as the first museum of LGBTQ history and culture in the United States, what remains, in 2011. It was considered one of only three dedicated LGBTQ museums. in existence in 2016 by a Swedish government agency. (It is currently temporarily closed due to the ongoing pandemic.)
Berlin’s Schwules Museum, which opened in 1985, was the first known gay museum in history. The Centrum Schwule Geschichte, a historic LGBTQ organization that opened in 1984, operates a library and archive in Cologne.
The ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archive, which was inaugurated in 1994, is housed within the University of Southern California Los Angeles Library System. In 1999, the International Homo/Lesbian Information Center and Archive, now known as IHLIA LGBT Heritage, began operations in the Netherlands and is housed in the Amsterdam Public Library system.
The Transgender Archive began in 2008 with the donation of Cristan Williams’ personal collection to the Transgender Foundation of America and is currently housed in a community center in Houston.