New York City's first LGBTQ+ museum has chosen Ben Garcia as its first Executive Director. Garcia will handle the museum's exhibition and program development, advocacy efforts, communication and community outreach and fundraising. He will officially step into the role in February, however Garcia and his partner won't be moving to New York until the Spring, according to the news release.
Garcia, who identifies by Latine, the gender-neutral form of Latino/Latina, serves on the boards of Equality Ohio and the Association of Midwest Museums.
He told Times, that he'd spent “20 years working in museums dedicated to ensuring that they are places that work for everybody’s self-discovery, that welcome everybody, that are working with paradigms of inclusion and equity.”
The American LGBTQ+ Museum is “a new collaboration dedicated to preserving, researching and sharing LGBTQ+ history and culture.”, according to the website.
The American LGBTQ+ Museum is partnered with the New York Historical Society, New York City's oldest museum. Located in the heart of Manhattan on Central Park West, the New York Historical Society will be hosting the American LGBTQ+ Museum in an expansion on its entire fourth floor. The museum is expected to open in 2024, but virtual programming has already begun.
The mission of both the museum committee and Ben Garcia is to bring to light the often whitewashed and erased gender and racial diversity of the historical LGBTQ+ movement, which includes a brand-new gallery and a state-of-the-art educational space dedicated to the American LGBTQ+ community and their struggle for civil rights, according to Dr. Louise Mirrer, the president and CEO of the New York Historical Society.
One specific feature of the museum will be items from the Billie Jean King archive, donated to the NYHS by the out tennis league in 2016.
Mirrer told AD, "We're an institution that looks for stories that the textbooks don't tell, or don't tell authentically. We've looked, in particular, at how the ideals of this nation maybe were not realized immediately."
She adds, in reference to the expansion of the NYHS building that will be the American LGBTQ+ Museum, "The new building will allow us to tell the story of the struggle for civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community."
Garcia calls the opportunity “a dream realized.” He said in the press release, “This museum will be a space of celebration, connection, activism and deep meaning. A liminal space where the connection to our ancestors will be strong and queer magic, real."