First LGBTQ+ National Park Service visitor center to open at NYC’s Stonewall Inn
The National Park Service’s first LGBTQ+ visitor center will open at Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn, organizers announced this week. Pride Live, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, officially broke ground on the future 3,700-square-foot Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center (SNMVC), expected to open in 2024. Located at 51 Christopher Street, the center will sit directly next to the historic Stonewall Inn and provide a space to learn about the Stonewall Rebellion in its original location.
“On this spot, an energized group of people created a movement for equality that continues to this day,” Chuck Sams, National Park Service Director, said. “The visitor center and its exhibits will celebrate and acknowledge LGBTQ+ accomplishments and serve as a place where people can learn about and connect with the LGBTQ+ community’s ongoing struggle for civil liberties.”
The Stonewall Rebellion is one of the most important events in the history of the LGBTQ+ community’s fight for equality. After an unexpected police raid and violent treatment against the bar’s attendees on June 28, 1969, a series of riots broke out and brought the LGBTQ+ community’s fight for rights to the forefront.
When the uprising first took place, the Stonewall Inn comprised two separate locations, 51 Christopher Street and 53 Christopher Street, where the current Stonewall Inn bar stands. On June 24, 2016, former President Barack Obama designated Stonewall National Monument, including the 0.19-acre Christopher Park and the surrounding streets, including Christopher Street.
MBB Architects will design the new visitor center with feedback from LGBTQ+ historians, activists, and community leaders. In-person and virtual tours, lectures, exhibitions, and visual art displays are expected to be offered.
“The opening of the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center is a remarkable moment in the history of Stonewall,” Ann Marie Gothard, President of the Pride Live Board of Directors, said.
“We honor all those who came before us, most especially the queer people fighting for equality at the Stonewall Rebellion. The designation as a National Monument and the opening of this visitor center will memorialize their important legacy in the gay rights movement, and we hope will inspire future generations to continue fighting for LGBTQ+ equality.”
The SNMVC will be funded mainly by donations from community members and allies. Those interested in supporting the longevity of the monument can learn more on the website.