About The Velvet Foundation
The Velvet Foundation was co-founded by Tim Gold in 2007 to collect, preserve, and interpret artifacts pertaining to and associated with the history and culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States. In 2008, the foundation filed its Articles of Incorporation in the District of Columbia, filed its application for tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status, and received its Letter of Determination from the IRS.
The Foundation’s primary mission is to create and sustain a National LGBT Museum to identify, study, and showcase the social, historical, and cultural contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community to US society – through collections, exhibitions, research, publications, and other public programs. As a charitable organization, the museum’s initiatives will be guided by the principles of preservation, scholarship, cultural unification, education, social responsibility, inclusiveness, outreach, collaboration, and innovation.
Since 2007, Velvet Foundation has made significant strides toward the establishment of the National LGBT Museum, principally through volunteer efforts. In 2008, it joined the American Association of Museums, began building its collection, and started to promote the concept of a museum dedicated to the LGBT experience. In 2009, the Foundation took a significant step to preserve the legacy of an important LGBT activist by acquiring the remaining items in Frank Kameny’s collection that were not transferred to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The Foundation contracted with ELY to house the museum’s collections until a permanent museum was established.
In 2010-2012, the Foundation embarked upon its master planning process – commissioning a needs assessment for an LGBT museum, holding five envisioning workshops around the United States, and developing a strategic plan that defined the requirements of the museum space. The culmination of this process was the debut of the National LGBT Museum’s “Here I Am” logo, brand, and concept, which was used to initiate a capital campaign and promote awareness of this institutional initiative.
In 2013-2014, the National LGBT Museum collaborated with Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Garden in Washington, D.C. to carry out its first study on museum visitor experience at an LGBT-themed event. The National LGBT Museum kicked off its Living Stories Project at the Capitol Pride Festival by recording nearly 200 oral histories, and hosted a participatory family craft activity in a special area in its “The Future is Here” pavilion. Other outreach activities included a contest for artists, photographers, and designers to promote the Living Stories project and gatherings to promote LGBT documentaries.
In 2015, the Foundation announced its plan to establish and staff the National LGBT Museum in New York City. The goal is to open by June 2019, the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. Toward this end, the foundation is completing the Museum’s business plan, updating its marketing analysis to reflect its shift to a New York City (formerly Washington, D.C.) location, and collaborating with other museums to research visitor experience at LGBT-themed events. The plan is to fund the museum largely through private contributions with some support from foundations and government grants.