LGBT museum planned for Washington DC

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A researcher for the Smithsonian Institute and his furniture magnate husband have announced their intentions to open an LGBT American history museum in the US capital city of Washington DC.

According to the Washington Post, Tim and Mitchell Gold have said that they are in the process of raising money and collecting pieces to form the exhibits for the planned museum. Tim Gold said that he had so far collected 5,000 objects that had significant meaning in gay history.

The collection includes posters and placards from historical protests and a film strip of a 1970 gay pride parade in New York.

It also includes more sombre objects, such as the violin belonging to Tyler Clementi, the student who killed himself in 2010 after his roommate secretly recorded footage of him kissing a man and then posted it online.

“So much of our history is unfortunately thrown out,” Tim Gold said, explaining that his collection would probably have been much larger already if being LGBT hadn’t been considered taboo by the families of early activists.

He summed up his vision for the museum by saying: “We are going to tell American stories. We are going to tell American history, but we are going to do it through the lens of the LGBT story.

“This isn’t a museum just for gay people or just for lesbian people or just for transgender people,” he continued. “I want anyone who walks through this door to be able to take something away from the experience.”

Joe Solmonese, former president of the Human Rights Campaign, pledged his support for the museum as a way of educating America about its LGBT population and progressing civil rights.

“Every advance that we’ve made has been brought about because we’ve been able to change the hearts and minds of the American people in a pretty significant way, and in the context of history, in a fairly rapid way,” he said. “And I see the museum as doing just that.”

The project does have its detractors. Peter Sprigg of the Christian anti-gay group Family Research Council said that while he would not try to block the museum’s creation – as long as it didn’t receive public funding – he did not feel that it would benefit anyone.

“In that I expect it to celebrate a form of sexual behaviour that we believe is harmful to the people who engage in it and society at large, I wouldn’t consider it a welcome development,” he said.

The museum is still in planning and fundraising stages and it will be several years before it could potentially open its doors.