A visitor centre is set to open next door to The Stonewall Inn in New York City to preserve the legacy of the historic LGBTQ+ landmark.
Located in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood, the National Monument Visitor Centre will feature art displays, lectures, in-person and virtual tours all dedicated to the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement including the 1969 Stonewall Riots.
The Stonewall National Monument is a beautiful 7.7 acre park that hosts many events, educational opportunities and exhibits for members of the community. In 2016 it become the first US national monument dedicated to LGBTQ+ history.
1/ With a mission to advance and celebrate the legacy of the Stonewall Rebellion and the Stonewall National Monument, SNMVC will serve as a beacon for generations to come, providing an opportunity to visit the site where history was made, and the fight for LGBTQ+ equality began.
— Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center (@stonewallvisctr) June 21, 2022
The visitor centre will open in the summer of 2024 with the help of Pride Live, a charity focused on supporting and raising awareness for the LGBTQ+ community. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for this Friday at 10:30 am and can be streamed on Pride Live’s Youtube channel.
Following the ceremony Pride Live will host a free event that will celebrate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots with an afternoon of ‘music and inspiration.’ Registration for the event can be made on Eventbrite.
Board president of Pride Live, Ann Marie Gothard believes the opening of the visitor centre will be a remarkable moment for what is considered to be the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.
“We honour all those who came before us, most especially the queer people fighting for equality at the Stonewall riots,” she said.
1/ When the Stonewall Rebellion took place on June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn occupied two storefronts, both 51 and 53 Christopher Street. Shortly after the Rebellion, they closed and the space was eventually leased as two separate entities.
— Pride Live (@REALPRIDELIVE) June 21, 2022
Although the visitor centre will be overseen by Pride Live, it will also serve as a base for staff members of the National Park service. US interior secretary Deb Haaland works in the park service department and explained the goals of the centre.
“The Stonewall National Monument Visitor Centre will serve as a place where the LGBTQ community can safely gather to celebrate and commemorate its hard-fought history,” she said.
Huge news! We’re thrilled to support @realpridelive breaking ground on a new visitor center at @StonewallNPS ?️? NPCA fought to preserve Stonewall with a national park site, and @stonewallvisctr will help celebrate it and tell a fuller LGBTQ+ story. https://t.co/GF0d1uW0Sp
— National Parks Conservation Association (@NPCA) June 21, 2022
The visitor centre also received funding from corporations including Google and JP Morgan Chase. Senior director of public policy at Google, William Floyd, released a statement on the partnership.
“It’s vital to create safe and inclusive spaces for the LGBTQ community, and we are proud to support the opening of the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Centre, a space that will memorialise the legacy of Stonewall.”
Like many charities, The Stonewall Inn struggled financially during the pandemic and faced the possibility of permanent closure. With overwhelming financial support from the public and businesses, the bar was able to keep its doors open. Donations totalled over half a million to help protect the landmark and its LGBTQ+ history.
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