Stonewall National Museum & Archives

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Stonewall National Museum and Archives (SNMA) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization that promotes understanding through preserving and sharing the culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their role in society. SNMA is dedicated solely to LGBT history, civil rights, art and culture. The museum features three gallery spaces with changing monthly and bi-monthly exhibits, and includes a permanent timeline of American LGBT history. The SNMA is located at 1300 East Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304.


The Stonewall Library & Archives was founded in 1973 by Mark N. Silber. The collection was housed in his parents' house for 10 years. It was moved to a classroom at the Sunshine Cathedral, Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida around 1983.[1]The library merged with the Boca Raton-based Southern Gay Archives and they formed Stonewall Library & Archives, Inc. In 2001, the library and archive moved into the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida at 1717 North Andrews Avenue.[2]

The center was slated for demolition, so Stonewall began looking for other options. They were approached by Broward County, who offered the collection space at the Fort Lauderdale branch of the Broward County library, which already includes tenant ArtServe. The Broward County Commission approved the move in a 9-0 vote on 10 June 2007.[3][4] The new location opened in February 2009 at 1300 East Sunrise Blvd in Fort Lauderdale Florida.

In 2014 the Museum opened a branch, the Stonewall Gallery, at 2157 Wilton Drive in neighboring Wilton Manors.[5]


On 10 July 2007, the Fort Lauderdale city commission also voted, on a 3-2 vote, to allow the library to occupy a space in the building that is city owned but under long-term lease to the county. Before the vote, mayor Jim Naugle denounced the library, claiming that it contained pornographic materials.[6] Executive Director Jack Rutland noted that the three titles singled out by Naugle were all part of the library's non-circulating archive of 7000 titles, maintained for historical and research purposes only.[7] The dispute was another round in a stormy relationship between the city's large gay community and Naugle, who has repeatedly made statements that are perceived as anti-gay.[8]

Items in collection[edit]

Among the 5,000 items are their pulp fiction collection, organizational records of local, national and regional LGBT organizations, personal records of local and national personalities, the Joel Starkey Collection, serials, gay erotica - pictorial works, and LGBT ephemera, film, audio and oral histories.[9]

The collection includes the gavel that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" back in 2010. According to the Huffington Post, it was donated to Stonewall by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who had received it from Pelosi. Then Museum president, Bryan Knicely, said "if I didn't work here, I would think it belonged to the Smithsonian."[10] The Stonewall National Museum & Archives is currently run by Executive Director, Chris Rudisill.


The Stonewall National Museum and Archives hosts several programs open to the community that bring awareness to LGBT issues or allow a space for LGBT participants and others from the community to feel welcome. The museum hosts movie nights, a book club, GayWrites workshops, film screenings, art galleries, socials and other events within the museum. Other events include Gala events, walks, talks with writers, gallery exhibits, volunteer programs, and participation in lgbt events out in the community. [11]

Stonewall National Education Project[edit]

The Stonewall National Education Project national network is composed of delegates representing more than 4.5 million high-school-aged youth and 200,000 educators. The network meets every year at its annual Symposium. Symposium topics include: laws, best practices and resources at the state and federal level, policy and funding, accommodations for transgender and gender nonconforming students, bullying, self-esteem, power & privilege, social justice and curriculum, sex, sexuality, HIV and YMSM support systems, and creating community for Black adolescent sexual minority males[12]

Stonewall Gallery[edit]

At Stonewall National Museum – Wilton Manors Gallery rotating exhibits, permanent exhibits with items from the Stonewall Archives, and a timeline of American LGBT history amplify the distinctly personal connection of sexuality, gender and civil rights, at the front door of the LGBT community in South Florida. Stonewall Gallery engages tourists and residents with an ongoing schedule of meaningful, lively exhibits, panel discussions, films, and author presentations year-round[13]

Michael Rajner, local community and LGBT rights activist, said the Gallery filled a much-needed role in the city’s cultural landscape. “It’s one of the things we’ve been really missing on The Drive. While we have art galleries and studios one of the things we’re really missing, for a community and city that has such a high concentration of LGBT individuals, was something about our culture. It’s a great opportunity to introduce people to how rich our struggle is for equality.” The Gallery is divided into two halves: one side features semi-permanent items, such as the gavel used by Nancy Pelosi when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed in 2010. It was donated by Rep. Barney Frank. Also included is a timeline that features members of the LGBT community and LGBT-themed events. The other half is devoted to temporary exhibits.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cavanaugh, Donald (June 13, 2012). "An Interview with the Founder of the Stonewall National Museum & Archives". South Florida Gay News. 
  2. ^ Searcy, Fred (Winter 2001). "Stonewall Library and Archives Moves into the New Millennium". The Florida Archivist. 17 (1): 2–3. 
  3. ^ Mayo, Michael (19 July 2007). "Fort Lauderdale mayor turning into his own worst enemy". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2007-07-23. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Rutland, Jack (19 July 2007). "New facility offers public local resources". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2007-07-23. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Michael d'Oliveira, "Stonewall gallery Brings LGBT History, Culture to Wilton Drive", SFGN (South Florida Gay News), October 8, 2014, p. 5.
  6. ^ Martinez, Ani (11 July 2007). "Mayor takes new jab at gays as library is OK'd". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2007-07-17. [dead link]
  7. ^ Wilcox, Barbara (12 July 2007). "Naugle notwithstanding, Fort Lauderdale to get new LGBT library". The Advocate. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  8. ^ "Homosexuality is a sin, mayor says". WTVJ. 13 July 2007. Archived from the original on July 14, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  9. ^ "Stonewall National Museum & Archives - About the Archives". 
  10. ^ Lilly, Christiana (June 4, 2012). "Stonewall National Museum & Archives Stores America's LGBT History". Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Stonewall National Museum & Archives". Retrieved 2018-04-16. 
  13. ^ "Stonewall National Museum & Archives". Retrieved 2018-04-16. 
  14. ^ d'Oliveira, Michael. "Stonewall Gallery Brings LGBT History, Culture to Wilton Drive". Retrieved 2018-04-16. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°08′12″N 80°07′48″W / 26.1367°N 80.1301°W / 26.1367; -80.1301