This morning, The New York Times reported that plans are in the works for a national museum chronicling and commemorating the AIDS pandemic, to be located right here in San Francisco.
The plans are still very much in their infancy, but the group behind Golden Gate Park’s National AIDS Memorial Grove, which was designated as a National Memorial by Congress in 1996, is “discreetly” exploring the concept for a larger national museum. It's working with consultants to gauge interest in the project, specifically among wealthy donors with a stake in the LGBTQ+ community.
Given how HIV/AIDS has shaped the social fabric of the city, San Francisco would be a fitting site for such a museum. In the 15-year period at the height of the epidemic, nearly 20,000 San Franciscans died of the disease.
The museum would reportedly be on par with such institutions as Washington D.C.’s United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Manhattan’s National September 11th Memorial and Museum, and Japan’s Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
While planning remains in the “nascent stages,” it's likely the budget for such a museum would be at least in the tens of millions of dollars, with a far higher price tag for an "architecturally significant" project, as a draft internal document shared with the Times called it.
The Holocaust Museum cost around $200 million, while the September 11 Museum cost over $700 million.
We'll keep you updated on what might be next. In the meantime, what are your thoughts about a National AIDS Museum potentially being built in San Francisco?
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