Best Museum Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2014 - Stonewall National Museum and Archive
1300 E. Sunrise Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
Thank the queer deities for South Florida! There are few spots on this Earth where two dudes or two ladies starting a life together is about as everyday as a man and a woman getting hitched and subsequently divorced — and southeastern Florida, friends, is one of them. That's why Fort Lauderdale is the fieriest place in the world to preserve and share knowledge on LGBT culture and its place in American society. That's exactly what Stonewall National Museum and Archive does with thoughtfulness and pizzazz. It all started in the '70s with then-FAU student Mark Silber hoarding books at his family home in Hollywood. And today, it has two locations filled to the brim with gay info — the Fort Lauderdale Branch Library/ArtServe building and a new gallery in Wilton Manors. It hosts unusual exhibitions like "Dear Abby: Letters and Advice on Homosexuality" and photographer Jeff Larson's "Men in Living Rooms," who were scantily clad in their homes. The collection includes more than 25,000 books, a thousand DVDs, and 5,000 archival objects, such as the gavel Nancy Pelosi pounded when ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." But there's a lot more to do than gaze at stuff: The lively schedule included a gala with Megan Mullally of Will and Grace this year, and the community is welcome for movie nights, author series, discussion groups, and more.