Despite years of planning to build in Washington D.C., a proposed National LGBT Museum is now looking to make the Big Apple its home.
After leaders discovered that the museum would not be eligible for tax breaks in D.C., and that the attempt to score a location near the National Mall continually turned up unsuccessful, the board turned to New York City as the next best option.
“What we found most appealing was opening a museum in our nation’s capital,” said Tim Gold, co-chair of the museum’s board. “When we had to rule out identifying a space near the Mall, it was no longer a museum in the nation’s capital, it was a museum in the city of Washington. And tourism numbers drop off significantly when you go away from the Mall.”
An annual survey in Out Traveler has continuously ranked New York as the top gay tourist destination, making the city the perfect new spot for the planned museum.
The board currently has three potential sites that they’re looking at, but they’re keeping the locations private for now.
“The logistics are more difficult, but the opportunities that we have here are far greater than the opportunities we had in the District,” Gold said. “The challenge, when we were trying to crunch the numbers, was how to get tourists to travel beyond the Mall. When we compared that to what we saw in New York City, the decision came quite easily.”
But NYC is not the official home yet, as Gold says the process still has quite a long way to go.
“Opening a national museum, on average, is a 20-year project. We’re on year nine,” explained Gold. “So even though we’re very happy here in NYC, you never know. If things change in Washington, D.C., if someone reaches out and makes us an offer, we’re open to that. Or if another city makes an offer. We don’t like shutting any doors.”