Schwules Museum

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The Schwules Museum* (Gay Museum*) is a museum exhibiting LGBT life in Berlin, Germany, which opened in 1985.

Schwules Museum* House

History and mission[edit]

The impetus for the founding of the Schwules Museum* was a successful exhibition on gay topics at the Berlin Museum (Märkisches Museum) in summer 1984, called Eldorado. It was the first public exposition in Germany of recent research on gay life. In 1985 the organisation Verein der Freunde eines Schwulen Museums in Berlin e.V. was founded and opened its own museum dedicated exclusively to LGBT topics at Mehringdamm 61 in the district of Kreuzberg.[1] The museum was located above a gay nightclub.

From December 2004 to May 2013, there was a permanent exhibition called Selbstbewusstsein und Beharrlichkeit. 200 Jahre schwule Geschichte ("Self-Awareness and Endurance: 200 Years of Gay History"). It depicted the strategies, options and problems of gay people in seeking to live a self-determined life, find others and organise networks in the period from 1790 to 1990. In association with this theme, the social and legal background was presented, such as the anti-gay Paragraph 175 of the German penal code; the associated marginalisation, persecution and criminalisation of homosexuality; as well as the successes of the gay rights movement.[2] At the moment the permanent exhibition is not displaced, but it is planned to open again in 2016.[needs update]


Museums shop in the Schwules Museum*, 2015
Café in the Schwulen Museum*, 2015

In the summer of 2013, it moved to a former printing house in Lützowstraße 73, more than doubling its exhibition space,[3] and is the world's first gay museum.[4]

The museum shows several temporary exhibitions every year. These include historical exhibitions illuminating particular periods or historical developments, such as Goodbye to Berlin. 100 Jahre Schwulenbewegung ("Goodbye to Berlin: 100 Years of the Gay Rights Movement", 1997). The exhibition Verfolgung homosexueller Männer in Berlin 1933–45 ("Persecution of Homosexual Men in Berlin 1933–45"), in collaboration with the Sachsenhausen Memorial, dealt with the experience of gays in the Nazi era.

The museum also holds series of exhibitions on individuals, groups and organisations, such as Der Kreis ("The Circle") and Gesellschaft für Reform des Sexualrechts ("Society for the Reform of Sexual Law"). A continuing series of homages to gay people in public life has included Oscar Wilde, Marlene Dietrich, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Michel Foucault and Thomas Mann.

Through the second half of 2015, Schwules Museum* and the German Historical Museum presented the exhibition Homosexualität_en ("Homosexuality_ies"), jointly funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation [de] and the Cultural Foundation of the German states [de] and displaying a great range on the history, politics and culture of homosexuality.[5]

The museum archive houses periodicals going back to 1896 and a collection of photographs, videos, films, sound recordings, autographs, art works, and ephemera. The library currently contains approximately 10,000 books on homosexuality.

In December 2009, the museum received its first allocation of public money, a two-year grant from the cultural funds of the Berlin Senate, and declared that this would make possible a planned broadening of its focus to encompass other alternative sexual identities other than male homosexuality,[6][7] above all a further emphasis on lesbian and transgender people.[8]

See also[edit]



  • Michael Bollé, ed. Eldorado: Homosexuelle Frauen und Männer in Berlin, 1850–1950; Geschichte, Alltag und Kultur. Berlin: Frölich und Kaufmann, 1984. ISBN 3-88725-068-0. 2nd ed. Berlin: Verein der Freunde eines Schwulen Museums in Berlin e.V., 1992. ISBN 3-89468-032-6.


  1. ^ "Schwules Museum - Freunde eines Schwulen Museums e.V." Die Tageszeitung (in German).
  2. ^ "Selbstbewusstsein und Beharrlichkeit — 200 Jahre schwule Geschichte: Die ständige Ausstellung des Schwulen Museums". (in German). Archived from the original on 2009-04-21.
  3. ^ Ingeborg Wiensowski (16 July 2013). "Zarte Fußballer und Frauen mit Bart" [Tender footballers and women with beards]. Der Spiegel (in German).
  4. ^ Sara Richards (17 February 2010). "Berlin's Schwules Museum, Exploring The Past And Present". NPR blogs. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Homosexuality_ies". Deutsches Historisches Museum. 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Senatsgeld für das Schwule Museum" [Public funds for the Schwule Museum]. Siegessäule (in German). 15 December 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  7. ^ "Das Schwule Museum in Berlin erhält Senatsförderung" [The Gay Museum in Berlin receives Senate funding] (in German). 11 December 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  8. ^ "Berlin: Das Schwule Museum wird immer lesbischer" [Berlin: The Gay Museum is becoming more and more lesbian]. 29 May 2009. Archived from the original on 20 June 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2010.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°29′27″N 13°23′16″E / 52.49083°N 13.38778°E / 52.49083; 13.38778