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Take a first look inside the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center, which is opening next week

After two years of construction, the project is almost ready.

Ian Kumamoto
Written by
Ian Kumamoto
Staff Writer
An exterior view of the Stonewall Visitors Center.
Photograph: Courtesy of EDG Architecture + Engineering
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It's been eight years since former President Barack Obama designated the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding area a national monument, making it the country's first national park to honor the LGBTQ community. 

After nearly a decade of having no official visitor center attached to it, Pride Live and the National Park Service announced that after several years of construction, Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center is finally opening its doors to the public next Friday, June 28. 

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The visitor center will be located at 51 Christopher Street, which is attached to The Stonewall Inn bar and encompass 2,100 feet of space. The center itself used to be part of the bar where the Stonewall Riots first began in 1969, but was later divided by a wall to create two separate smaller businesses, one of which was reverted back to a gay bar in 1990. From the outside, The Stonewall Inn and the visitors center look like the same space, but once inside, you'll see the wall that divides the two sections.   

The visitor center will include a wall that tells the Stonewall Uprising's history through pictures and text. The center will also serve as the home base of the Stonewall National Monument's park rangers, who you might see hanging out behind a counter where the main bar used to be. The space will also include virtual tours, a lecture series, exhibitions, a dedicated theater space, and rotating visual arts displays created by the next generation of queer and trans activists.

The visitor center was spearheaded by two queer women of color, Diana Rodriguez and Ann Marie Gothard. With two years of time and a $3.2 million investment, they were in charge of imagining a center that honored the legacy of Stonewall. To them, the opening date of June 28 was significant because it marks the 55th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. 

rendering of the inside of a museum
Photograph: Courtesy of EDG Architecture + Engineering

There are several details throughout the visitor center that nod at the original bar. Parts of the ceilings were recreated to mimic the old interior. The room where the screenings will take place used to be the main dance floor, and another room will be adorned with commemorative shovels with the names of the many sponsors that helped fund the visitor center—among them Christina Aguilera. 

rendering of inside of museum
Photograph: Courtesy of EDG Architecture + Engineering

"The journey to create the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center has been a truly remarkable and landmark moment," Ann Marie Gothard, chair of the Board of Directors at Pride Live, said in a press release. "This required the tireless support of countless who are deeply committed to preserving history. With the opening of the Visitor Center, we pay homage to the brave individuals behind the historic Stonewall Rebellion. We hope it stands as an enduring and resilient symbol and serves as a beacon for generations to come, providing the unique opportunity to step foot on the site where history unfolded and where the fight for LGBTQIA+ equality was ignited."

For more information and updates on the visitor's center, follow them on Instagram

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