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Often referred to as San Francisco's "queer Smithsonian," the GLBT Historical Society houses one of the world's largest collections of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender historical materials. The society's GLBT History Museum is the first full-scale, stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States.

Sponsorships: Museum sponsorship provides essential support to one the GLBT community’s most significant cultural institutions — and offers visibility and other benefits to sponsors. For full details, click here.

Membership & Donations: To become a member or make a donation, click here.

To read about the three main challenges currently facing the organization, including the search for a new home for our archives, the need to renew the lease for the GLBT History Museum, and our efforts to satisfy exploding interest in GLBT history, click here.

MUSEUM HOURS
Monday, Wednesday– Saturday:
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday: Noon – 5 p.m.


MUSEUM LOCATION
4127 18th St. • San Francisco

MUSEUM HOME PAGE
www.glbthistorymuseum.org

Matlovich Time Cover

Out of the Boxes and onto the Net!

We're digitizing our amazing audiovisual collections and putting them on the Internet for you to enjoy. Check out our first offering, the entire run of the 1980s radio series The Gay Life. Click here.GayBackMachine

Sponsors

Sponsors of the GLBT History Museum
City & County of San Francisco: Grants for the Arts

Presenting Sponsor
Bob Ross Foundation
City and Countyof San Francisco: Grants for the Arts
Real Bad (Grassroots Gay Rights West)
Real Bad

Platinum Sponsors
David R. Kessler, M.D.
Levi Strauss
Wells Fargo Foundation
Walgreens

Gold Sponsors
AAA Northern California, Utah & Nevada Insurance Exchange
Badlands & Toad Hall
Al Baum & Robert Holgate
John Bell & Jason Spicer
Harvey's Restaurant
Human Rights Campaign
Gerard Koskovich Queer Antiquarian Books
Chris Lewis & Todd Reasinger
Mark Rhoades
Emily Rosenberg & Darlene de Manincor
Earl Stokes & Ross Moore
Andreas Weigend
Whole Foods

Silver Sponsors
Bank of the West
Troy Barber & Dan Stewart
Abraham Brown & Jim Stephens
Tom Burtch & Neil Austen
Community Thrift Store
Elisabeth Cornu
Robert Dockendorff
Chris Lewis & Todd Reasinger
Terence Kissack & Mark Coleman
Peter Lundberg & James Mowdy
John Raines
James Neale
See's Candies
Sterling Art Services

Sponsors
John Alecca
Nancy Andrews
Gary Booher
Gray Clossman Darryl Carbonaro
Paul Christensen
Community Safety Foundation
Diana Coopersmith
William Dickey
Mark Dimunation
Calvin Doucet
Andrew Ferguson
Gary Gansle
Kevin Gerber
Jerome Goldstein
Tim Gullicksen
Eric Hallquist
Tomlinson Holman
James Hormel & Michael Nguyen
Mario Hubert
Jack Lasner
Jason Macario & Steve Holst
Todd Martin
Michael Moniz
Trenton Norris
Ken Prog
Merle Rabine
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
Stephen Murray & Keelung Hong
William Patterson
Rainbow Grocery Cooperative
Kerry Romesburg & Judy Romesburg
Gustavo Torres
Underglass Custom Framing
James Williams
Anders Winther & David Pike
Michael Yang & Jim Krenz

Donate to the GLBT Historical Society

Current Newsletter

Showing at the
GLBT History Museum

Queer Past

Main Gallery: Queer Past Becomes Present.

Front Gallery: 1964: The Year San Francisco Came Out.

Community Gallery: Biconic Flashpoints: 4 Decades of Bay Area Bisexual Politics

Other Current and Upcoming
Events and Programs

The G Spot: Gentrification, Transformation and Queer San Francisco

G Spot Program PicThis free program series spotlights how processes of urban renovation that once helped create spaces for queer community and culture now threaten to erase their presence. All events in the series will happen at the GLBT History Museum. See the complete schedule of events. Register online and view the list of suggested readings. G Spot is co-sponsored by the Office or Research and Sponsored Programs at San Francisco State University.

Theme: Queers Against Gentrification
February 5, 7-9 p.m.
February 28, 4-10 p.m.

Closing Event: Open Forum on the GLBT Historical Society's Role in Gentrification Issues
March 5, 7-9 p.m
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Other Current and Upcoming
Events and Programs

Our 30th Anniversary

Thirty Years of Grassroots Efforts Yield Irreplaceable Collection

by Linnea Due

When Paula Lichtenberg hopped on an elevator at the San Francisco Main Library in March, 1985, she was pleased to find Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon in the same car. “Are you going to the meeting?” they asked Lichtenberg.

Photo of Willie Walker by Daniel Nicoletta

“What meeting?” Lichtenberg wondered, an innocent question whose answer would develop into a lifetime commitment to preserving gay and lesbian history. The meeting in question, called by Willie Walker, Greg Pennington, and Eric Garber, was an open-to-the-public confab about collecting gay and lesbian history. Walker, who worked as a nurse on the AIDS ward at San Francisco General, knew that valuable historical material was being discarded right and left. While a few organizations were collecting artifacts, there was no central institution or unifying theme. Says Lichtenberg about that first meeting, “There were about fifty or sixty people. This came out of Walker’s mind. He was in the lesbian gay history project, and he saw this as a potential to form a historical society. It was his concept, but there were other people interested in gay and lesbian history. A group of librarians were forming a gay library. Some people were collecting periodicals. Scott Smith had Harvey Milk’s artifacts. Walker and Greg Pennington had collections, and they wanted some place to put all of these things together.”

It was the Wild West in terms of preserving gay and lesbian history. Gay Studies was not yet on the horizon, and few universities were collecting material. “The history project people were primarily interested in doing research,” says Lichtenberg, “and there was not much available in academic or public libraries. Gay historians such as Lou Sullivan and Alan Berube worked outside of academia.”

That first meeting resulted in the formation of the San Francisco Bay Area Gay and Lesbian Historical Society, a permanent archive accessible to the public. The organization later changed its name to the GLBT Historical Society of Northern California.

Two factors were vital from the start: the organization was co-sexual—it would collect gay and lesbian artifacts and history, later broadened to include transgender and bisexual history. Says Lichtenberg, who ended up serving on the board for ten years, “We were trying to be all-encompassing in terms of women, men, transgender, the leather community. We were trying to reach as many aspects as we could.”

The other important proviso was that the collection be accessible by the public. Those not allied with universities had difficulty accessing the small amount of material housed in academic institutions. This open-to-the-public approach was put into practice as the fledgling organization held panels and exhibits at the women’s building, MCC, and other institutions. Early panels included a program on the Black Cat bar and on 1978’s Proposition 6, which would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in California public schools; Eric Garber shared his work and slideshow on the Harlem Renaissance. A quarterly newsletter noted acquisitions and called for donations. “For the first ten years our focus was primarily on collecting materials,” says Lichtenberg. “And while we were thrilled to get Del and Phyllis’ papers, the Mattachine Society material, and Harvey Milk’s artifacts, we also wanted things from everyday people. Some of our best stuff are photo albums and those sorts of things that show how people lived.”

Bay Area native Linnea Due is an award-winning writer and editor.

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Exhibitions & Programs
GLBT History Museum

4127 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
Phone: (415) 621-1107
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Archives, Reading Room &
Administrative Offices

GLBT Historical Society
657 Mission St., Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: (415) 777-5455
Fax: (415) 777-5576

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society collects, preserves, and interprets the history of GLBT people and the communities that support them. We sponsor exhibitions and programs on an ongoing basis.