There’s an address in Fort Lauderdale, 1300 Sunrise Boulevard, that houses some of the most unique shared space in the city. In addition to the Fort Lauderdale branch of Broward County Library and ArtServe, a South Florida arts organization, the building is also home to the National Stonewall Museum and Archives, “the LGBT community’s Smithsonian.”
The National Stonewall Museum and Archives began in 1973 when college student Mark Silber began collecting gay books and magazines to better understand his own sexuality. That evolved into a lending library between friends which finally found a home at the former Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Wilton Manors. When the building was sold, Stonewall needed a new home. Broward County offered space at the Fort Lauderdale Branch Library building and the National Stonewall Museum and Archives moved there in February 2009.
The National Stonewall Museum and Archives is home to a treasure trove of more 5,000 professionally catalogued and maintained items documenting a century of LGBT cultural and social history. A tennis racket signed by Martina Navratilova, gay pulp fiction novels from the 1950s, organizational records from local and national LGBT organizations, film and oral histories are only a small part of the invaluable items gathered there.
Guests can browse through Stonewall’s circulating book and film library, which now numbers over 20,000 books and 1,000 DVDs with new titles added each week, or relax in the John Graves Reading Room and peruse the over 60 national and regional periodicals available. The library also houses a separate special collections area to maintain and protect unusual or rare items such as early editions of works from Willa Cather, among others, and signed copies of books by dozens of prominent gay and lesbian authors.
The National Stonewall Museum and Archives, located at 1300 East Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304, is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Stonewall Archives are open by appointment. For more information, please call 954-763-8565 or visit www.stonewallnationalmuseum.org. Please note that the Stonewall National Museum and Archives is not part of the Broward County Library system. Although the museum is free and open to the public, a paid membership is required to check out materials.
Stonewall Exhibit at North Regional/Broward College Library Honors LGBT Pride Month
Stonewall: The History of the Gay Liberation Movement, an exhibit commemorating the 1969 Stonewall Riots, will be on display at North Regional/Broward College Library throughout June and July. Stonewall explores how and why three hot nights in New York City in June 1969 became a turning point in the struggle for gay, lesbian and human rights. The Stonewall Riots blazed a path for gay rights and gay pride, marking a turning point in the struggle for equality for all. Learn about this powerful chapter in U.S. history and how it became the defining event in the start of the gay rights movement.