The first museum in the United States dedicated to showcasing the history of gay culture will open in San Francisco on Thursday.

The GLBT History Museum is a project of the GLBT Historical Society, an archives and research center established in 1985.

A portion of a 1979 flyer produced by the San Francisco Gay History Project is inscribed along one of the museum's walls: “Our letters were burned, our names blotted out, our books censored, our love declared unspeakable, our very existence denied.”

“A quarter century after the founding of the GLBT Historical Society, we're proud to open a museum to showcase our community's history,” Paul Boneberg, executive director of the group, said in a statement. “The GLBT History Museum is in the heart of the Castro, a neighborhood visited not only by locals, but also by tens of thousands of tourists every year who come in search of queer culture.”

“At our museum, they'll discover treasures from our archives that reflect fascinating stories spanning nearly a century of GLBT life. We have gone all out to create a museum as rich, diverse and surprising as the GLBT community itself. Whether they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or straight, visitors are sure to be moved, enlightened and entertained.”

The museum opens with two exhibitions: Our Vast Queer Past: Celebrating GLBT History in the main gallery and Great Collections of the GLBT Historical Society Archives in the front gallery.

The GLBT History Museum follows in the footsteps of Berlin's Schwules Museum, which opened its doors 25 years ago.