The first museum to commemorate the history of LGBT rights activism in Australia has opened in Sydney.
The Mardi Gras Museum features archive materials, such as costumes, photograps and posters from Sydney's annual gay rights festival which started in 1978.
Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore and MP Alex Greenwich opened the museum at a packed event last night.
'There are a lot of gay people who don't know the history,' said Moore, Star Observer reports. 'They never went through the AIDS epidemic or the candle-light vigils. And it's important that they realize what it took to get where we are.'
For now the museum is being housed in a temporary space on Oxford Street in the Darlinghurst area of Sydney, but efforts are being made to find it a permanent home. A plan to use a city-owned building in Taylor Square has been met by opposition from the council who want to use it as a bicycle hub.
Michael Rolik Mardi Gras CEO told Star Observer that it's important to have permanent museum for the LGBT community in Sydney.
'We had to leave quite a bit out of the exhibition - everyone in the community has a treasure trove of stories, and a permanent museum would let us tell those stories. We’re looking forward to working with the council to set up a dedicated space,' Rolik said.
After the launch City of Sydney councillors Linda Scott (Labor), Christine Forster (Liberal) and Angela Vithoulkas (Living Sydney) voiced their support for a permanent museum on Taylor Square, Gay News Network reports.
'A financially independent and successful museum would engage tourists, support employment and provide a boost to other local businesses in the Oxford Street area,' said Vithoulkas.
The Mardi Gras Museum, 106 Oxford Street, is free and open to visitors until Sunday 3 March.
The 35th Sydney Mardi Gras starts on 8 February with performances, parties and a spectacular parade on Saturday 2 March.