Stonewall National Museum & Archives — Photo courtesy of Stanley T. Bird, Jr.
What better place than Fort Lauderdale and the adjoining island city of Wilton Manors, Fla., to claim the Stonewall National Museum & Archives, which shares and implements LGBT-inclusive policies and practices through a national network of educators.
This South Florida treasure is a testament to the rise of the gay and lesbian community and the change of hearts of many toward it. There was a time, not too long ago, when such openly gay lifestyles and options were simply not a possibility and were largely prohibited; this is still the case in many places of the world today.
With an important mission to promote understanding through the preserving and sharing of the proud culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and to present the significant role they have made to society at large, these facilities are open to the public and certainly complement the very accepting and diverse culture of South Florida.
Conveniently located at 1300 East Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, the Stonewall National Library is the largest LGBT circulating library in the United States, holding an impressive amount of over 20,000 books, DVDs and more than 50 national and regional periodicals in the John Graves Reading Room.
Equally as amazing, this facility also contains more than 2000 linear feet of items that document a century of the LGBT cultural and social history. This is a painstakingly, professionally catalogued collection, and it's maintained to strict conservation and archival standards.
This facility is often used by professionals such as writers, scholars, historians and researchers, as well as members of the general public who value the endless supply of information simply not available anywhere else.
The Stonewall National Museum Wilton Manors Gallery - located at 2157 Wilton Drive - engages the local LGBT, as well as the many visitors who arrive each year. In-depth, lively exhibits and important community conversations by the LGBT people here in South Florida draw in visitors. These intriguing exhibits are geared toward amplifying the connection of sexuality, gender and civil rights in this beacon of LGBT life, and the museum enhances this distinct community.
Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors are unique in attracting over one million gay and lesbian and transgender visitors to its more than 100 gay-owned and gay-friendly guesthouses, bars, clubs and restaurants, many of whom decide to stay and become residents. This gay mecca has four popular gay beaches, houses the second largest Metropolitan Community Church in the nation and supports four gay and lesbian weekly publications.