The Stonewall National Museum & Archives has a timely new gallery space but you better act fast to see it.
Members of the museum, which promotes LGBT culture, were treated to a VIP reception Friday night at its new gallery in Wilton Manors. In between bites of pulled pork sandwiches, mozzarella cheese slices and garlic hummus, patrons gathered to relive some keys moments throughout gay history.
“This gallery is the manifestation of our board’s commitment to our mission,” said Stonewall executive director David Jobin.
The gallery, at 2157 Wilton Drive in the heart of gay South Florida, has unveiled a sneak peek into what the museum will display for two months beginning in April. Titled, “The Time of Our Lives,” the exhibit recognizes LGBT people and issues on the cover of Time Magazine.
“It’s wonderful,” said Hugh Beswick as he toured the gallery during Friday night’s invitation only soriee. Stopping at the cover of the late Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson, a two-time Presidential candidate, Beswick remarked, “I’ve heard about him.”
Jack Cunningham, a doucet at the museum, said in Stevenson’s time (1900-1965) homosexuality was a political taboo and rumors regarding Stevenson’s lifestyle abounded. Still, that did not stop the Governor from running for President, losing twice to five-star general Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“Stevenson fathered three children and yet was often rumored to be homosexual,” Cunningham said.
Other Time covers featured American violinist Van Cliburn, a man who the magazine touted had “conquered Russia” and Pulitzer prize winning playwright Tennessee Williams, who reportedly referred to his lover, Frank Merlo as his “long time secretary.”
Friday night’s preview was made possible by many generous donations, including $30,000 apiece by Charles L. Ross, famed art director of publications such as Architectural Digest and Veranda, and Mona Pittenger, a philanthropist from Oklahoma. Jobin said the exhibit, at its Wilton Drive location, has been permitted for just one week and then the gallery will be “sealed up” until June.
“The Time of Our Lives” exhibit then transitions to Stonewall National Museum & Archives in Fort Lauderdale, which recently received a $60,000 grant from the John C. Graves Foundation to aid its programming efforts. “The Times of Our Lives” exhibit opens April 1 at 1300 East Sunrise Blvd.
For more information, call 954-763-8565 or visit www.Stonewall-Museum.org.