There is a museum in New York City, located in SoHo, called the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art. The collection was formed in 1969 by a gay couple in their SoHo loft, Charles Leslie and Frederic “Fritz” Lohman. They explicitly chose to display art by queer artists as it was a barely touched portion of the art world, and remains so to this day. When the AIDS crisis struck New York, the couple began to frantically collect art from dead and dying artists, trying to preserve their shared history from families who did not care. The collection was accredited as a museum in 2016, becoming the first and only museum dedicated to displaying and preserving queer art. In 2019, the museum announced plans to transform the museum into more of a cultural center, with a learning center and research library in addition to the preexisting galleries.
The mission of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art dovetails nicely with Adrienne Rich’s poem Study of History from her collection The Fact of a Doorframe. Both focus on queer history that has been buried for years, intending to bring light to those hidden histories. The final stanza of the poem includes the lines “we have never entirely/known what was done to you upstream”, describing the uncertainty that surrounds queer history (Rich 72). The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art attempts to bring that history to light through exhibitions and accepting donated artworks into its permanent collection. Both the poem and the museum explore queer history, through the consequences of burying and the benefits of preservation respectively. Through preservation of queer art from the late 1960s onwards, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art avoids the the silence described in Rich’s poem, creating a space for queer history to be told.