Over the past few days, many of San Francisco's bastions for arts and culture have started to emerge from their SIP-spun chrysalises, welcoming the public back into their hallowed halls — and The Castro's beloved GLBT Historical Society Museum is among one of them.
As we've reported prior, SF's museums, science centers, and other like-minded institutions are now allowed to reopen... if they follow certain City-mandated COVID-19 safety guidelines. For example: SFMOMA opened to the public today with crowd capacities capped at 25 percent and, like the Conservatory of Flowers — which opened its doors this past Thursday — those wishing to venture inside must have prior reserved their tickets online and agreed to all the present safety measures. Saturday, the GLBT Historical Society Museum, too, started to again greet guests (new and old) to peruse its exhibits.
Our museum reopened today, October 1, for a special members-only day. The museum reopens to the public on Saturday, October 3, and admission will be free to Bay Area residents!— GLBT Historical Society (@GLBTHistory) October 1, 2020
Timed ticketing is available! Reserve your time slot now!#LGBTQHistoryMonthhttps://t.co/7WdzUXVvDX
Understandably, no new on-site displays are featured in the museum as of now; the same exhibits, which include Performance, Protest, & Politics: The Art of Gilbert Baker and the permanent Queer Past Becomes Present showcase, that were on display some six months ago still populate the 4127 18th Street address.
“For me, it’s about young kids. It’s 2020, but kids still get a lot of bullying and I think it’s important that people can get a sense of their heritage and identity from these stories that they don’t necessarily get at school or at home,” says GLBT Historical Society Museum's Executive Director Terry Beswick, who's also an AIDS-era activist and local founding member of ACT UP — a grassroots political group working to end the AIDS pandemic — to the Examiner.
Beswick waxes that the reopening of the nexus for queer history and LGBTQ+ activism was far from an easy feat, given the City's musical chairs of health orders, as well as ever-changing information about the coronavirus and tight financial resources.
Nevertheless, the collective persisted — and the much-loved touchstone for queer history (that's also a conduit for both local and national political engagement) is open to the masses again.
If you're missing the #CastroStreetFair today like we are, make sure to check out our silent auction & bid on this framed image from the early days of the fair, taken by noted LGBTQ Photographer Crawford Barton.— GLBT Historical Society (@GLBTHistory) October 4, 2020
Place your bids here: https://t.co/WlTvXQzlVP pic.twitter.com/02vEv9bvmJ
Like we hinted at prior: it's not exactly business as normal. Only a select number of time-specific tickets will be available each operational day, and they must be purchased online in advance. To ensure the well-being of those also snaking through the galleries during your visit, museum-goers must agree to a temperature check and fill out a general health questionnaire before entering the building.
And if you're still uneasy about venturing out in public amid the global health crisis, don't fret: the GLBT Historical Society Museum still has a plethora of virtual exhibits to fawn over. You can find those online displays — like their incredibly well-curated ode to Pride's 50th anniversary this year — at glbthistory.org/online-exhibitions
For more information on the museum’s operating hours and days, as well as ticket information and COVID-19 safety etiquettes, visit glbthistory.org/museum-about-visitor-info
Image: Visitors at the Main Gallery of museum viewing the "Life and Death in Black and White: AIDS Direct Action in San Francisco, 1985–1990" exhibit that was on display from March 2012 through July 2012. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons via GKoskovich)