The Fort Lauderdale Museum That Is A Must-Visit For Travelers Looking To Learn More About LGBTQ+ History

You don't have to limit your celebration of LGBTQ+ culture and history to Pride month. While visiting the world's biggest Pride parades is an exciting and fun way to travel while uplifting the LGBTQ+ community, plenty of American cities offer museums, bars, and historical sites that revolve around queer and trans history, culture, and identity. For some eager to learn more about LGBTQ+ history, families find that they have to seek out the information on their own. "I never went through and had classes that included LGBT history," Kate Leslie, a Massachusetts teacher, told WBUR. To deny young people the ability to learn about queer historical figures is to alienate their experiences, Leslie said. "If you don't see your identity reflected in what you're learning, it's hard to feel like that history belongs to you, and is something you could or should feel passionate about."

For those seeking out sites that open the gates to queer culture, you will find one of the most expansive archives for LGBTQ+ history in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And it is certainly not a museum you want to miss out on.

Visit the Stonewall National Museum & Archives in Fort Lauderdale for a fascinating look into LGBTQ+ history

Some have called it the "LGBTQ Community's Smithsonian," and for good reason. The Stonewall National Museum & Archives is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It's the largest LGBTQ+ museum in the country and a must for those passionate about queer history, according to Visit Florida. But the queer community isn't the only group who can benefit from browsing the museum's vast collection of books, media, and memorabilia. "I think that the larger community needs it outside the LGBT community," Executive Director Chris Rudisill told Visit Florida in 2016.

"Having a museum presence and a gallery presence gives people a chance to connect to objects in a real way," they said at the time. "There are people in our community with tremendous contributions to the world, and it's important to not let that be dismissed." Those celebrated at the museum include Walt Whitman, tennis star Martina Navratilova, and actor Billy Porter.

All the Stonewall National Museum & Archives has to offer

The Stonewall National Museum & Archives offers glimpses into the history of queer culture, documenting historic moments for the LGBTQ+ community. Now the largest LGBTQ+ museum in the country, this "queer Smithsonian" has humble roots. In the early 1970s, 19-year-old Mark N. Silber began gathering media to learn more about his sexuality and others in the LGBTQ+ community, according to Visit Florida. In an interview with South Florida Gay News, Silber reflected on moving from the area as the library continued to grow. "I wasn't worried about the library when I left South Florida," he said. "I knew the people who succeeded me were committed to keeping alive our history and culture and judging by what we see today, I was right."

The museum offers public programming, including author talks, film screenings, and panel discussions, according to the museum's website. The museum also hosts clubs for members of the community, like the film club, theatre club, and book club. For those wanting to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community, its culture, and history, the Stonewall National Museum & Archives is the ideal place to go.