The GLBT History Museum's 2011 opening in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood was the culmination of over a quarter century of collecting, preserving, and interpreting the Bay Area's queer history. The museum is a project of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) Historical Society, home to one of the world's largest and most accessible community-based queer archives. This article proposes that the museum is vital to the evolution of the organization's mission. The archive matters to the way the GLBT History Museum does public history, which, in turn, grows the archive. The GLBT Historical Society engages in three approaches linking queer museum and archive: coordinating communities, demonstrating queer belonging, and making power plain. This article combines interpretation of how archive and exhibition correspond, analyses of museum media coverage and visitors, exploration of how exhibitions from 2011–13 reflect emergent practices in queer museum studies, and scrutiny of site-specific opportunities and challenges.
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Don Romesburg; Presenting the Queer Past: A Case for the GLBT History Museum. Radical History Review 1 October 2014; 2014 (120): 131–144. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-2703769
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