Stonewall Museum Expands with Wilton Manors Gallery

Stonewall National Museum & Archives (SNMA) has announced its expansion to include a permanent Wilton Manors Gallery located at 2157 and 2159 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305.  Stonewall National Museum – Wilton Manors Gallery will open in March 2014. The site is the former location of Print Matters and HotSpots! Media Group.

Wilton Manors Gallery will increase the visibility of Stonewall Museum as a lively, relevant, LGBT focused cultural institution for the local Fort Lauderdale community and will become a tourist destination as America’s foremost LGBT museum.  The Gallery will exist as a welcome center for visitors in South Florida. Its goal is to expand its mission to “promote understanding through preserving and sharing the proud culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their significant role in society.”

Stonewall Museum will move the existing Charles L. Ross Gallery located at 1300 East Sunrise Boulevard, into the Wilton Manors Gallery, a larger dedicated gallery space, allowing its curators to employ more visual displays including large-format printing, video and photo projections, taking advantage of the ample display space presented by the storefront windows and sidewalk.

“With Stonewall Museum expanding to the Wilton Manors Gallery, the museum and archives will further engage visitors, residents and their allies, with meaningful, lively exhibits and community conversations by LGBT people at the hub of LGBT activity in South Florida,” remarks David Jobin, Executive Director, Stonewall National Museum & Archives. “Our exhibits will amplify the distinctly personal connection of sexuality, gender, and civil rights, at the front door of the LGBT community.” 

Stonewall Museum has an exciting opportunity to design the Wilton Manors Gallery space with the specific needs of its exhibition and meeting space in mind,” explains Chuck Ross, Chief Curator, Stonewall National Museum & Archives.

Strategic programming will draw the interest of visitors during South Florida’s high tourism season and of local South Florida residents year round. The new Stonewall gallery is poised to become a focal point of enticing and relevant LGBT cultural opportunities all year long. Following the great success of the “Stonewall Conversations” series started at a pop-up museum location in Wilton Manors during June 2012, SNMA will program a series thoughtfully committed to exploring and celebrating the rich past and future of the South Florida LGBT community.

The operating hours of Stonewall National Museum & Archives – Wilton Manors Gallery will extend to 11 pm, with special late night and midnight screenings, receptions and other events taking place to attract new patrons from neighboring restaurants and bars. Foot traffic surveys conducted at the Wilton Manors space showed favorable numbers of pedestrian and vehicle traffic that grew steadily throughout the afternoon and evening hours.

With the acquisition of a dedicated gallery space SNMA will expand its Archives facility shared with Stonewall Library at 1300 East Sunrise Boulevard. Its climate-controlled artifact room will expand into space formerly dedicated to staff offices and smaller displays. With the new space, SNMA will continue to maintain its archival standards for an increasing number of new acquisitions, including contributions of a signed and annotated, one of one hundred limited edition book by Walt Whitman, and a handwritten letter by Susan B. Anthony, recently donated by Brian McNaught and Ray Struble Historic Artifacts. The expansion will help to facilitate plans to digitize archival materials in the interest of growing the online presence of SNMA.

Efforts to cross-pollinate visitors between the Stonewall National Museum & Archives – Wilton Manors Gallery and Stonewall Library & Archives location on East Sunrise Boulevard will raise awareness of the resources SNMA offers at its home base, including 25,000 title book and 6,000 title DVD library, magazine reading room and guided monthly tours of the Archives.

The high traffic of Wilton Drive and the anticipated increase in number of visitors to Stonewall National Museum – Wilton Manors Gallery is expected to generate naming opportunities and associated gifts directed toward capital improvement projects. A gallery store will bolster SNMA’s fundraising efforts with gift items and SNMA-branded merchandise for visitors.