GLBT History Museum

A visit to San Francisco would be incomplete without appreciating the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender cultural mosaic that has helped make the city known for its social progress. The GLBT History Museum, located in the vibrant Castro district, offers panels, readings, showings, and discussions on a vast and vastly personal set of experiences.

The museum serves as an archive for hundreds of collections documenting both the fight for equality and the assertion of rights. Photographs, posters and even t-shirts are carefully organized in the archives, while sound, film and oral histories breathe life into lessons learned by both GLBT individuals and their communities.

Through its main gallery, visitors can get a glimpse of Our Vast Queer Past, a celebration of the GLBT heritage of a forward-thinking city. In this welcoming space, some familiar events and personalities can be more thoroughly explored, while guests can also acquaint themselves with histories that, to them, might be brand new. Subjects of other galleries include the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, which harmonized art and social change as the first openly gay group of its kind. Another gallery tilts the spotlight towards community pioneer Vicki Marlane, whose female impersonation work in the 1960s was just one part of a colorful, creative contribution.

Recognizing that accessibility goes hand in hand with inclusiveness, the GLBT History Museum has put many of its offerings online. Web users can log on and take in varied online exhibits, from depictions of the struggle for equality to more specific accounts by individuals who continue to struggle while rejoicing today. Internet users can also peruse obituaries from the Bay Area Reporter or use the “Gayback Machine” to enjoy the hundreds of hours of local radio programs from the past several decades.

For those who seek an up close and personal look at what the museum has to offer, group tours are available with knowledgeable guides ready to both lead and listen.

The GLBT History Museum is located at 4127 18th Street in San Francisco. They can be reached at (415) 621-1107, or via the web at Museum archives can be found at 657 Mission Street, Suite 300 in San Francisco. On Mondays and on Wednesday through Saturday, the museum is open from 11:00 – 7:00. On Sundays, the museum is open from 12:00 – 5:00. They are closed on Tuesdays.

View Larger Map