Stonewall National Museum & Archives (SNMA) is pleased to announce the forthcoming exhibition Safe/Haven: Gay Life in 1950s Cherry Grove, presented in conjunction with the Cherry Grove Archives Collection and curated by Brian Clark and Susan Kravitz for Stonewall National Museum & Archives. The exhibition will open on Friday, February 21, 2020, from 7 pm – 9 pm, with a presentation by the curators at 7 pm.The exhibit will remain on view until May 24, 2020. Stonewall Museum is free of charge. Suggested donation $5. Support for programs at Stonewall National Museum & Archives is generously provided by the Broward County Cultural Council, The Department of Florida Cultural affairs, Funding Arts Broward, and Titos Homemade Vodka.
Archival photos from the Cherry Grove Archives Collection depict LGBTQ life in Cherry Grove while the Lavender Scare was happening in the rest of the country. For this exhibition, 60 images have been identified and restored from the 1950s. Most were taken with a medium format camera by artists who summered in the community during that era.
During the 1950’s gay and lesbian members of this Cherry Grove beach community socialized openly (putting aside the ongoing police raids in the community’s “meat rack”), and often together with straight residents summering there. Costume-themed house parties and theatrical productions were all the rage in the Grove during the 1950’s, where gender fluidity, drag and costume provided an opportunity to openly express one’s homosexuality. While gay men may have initially come to Cherry Grove in the 1950’s primarily in pursuit of sex, men - and women - found a place that provided emotional and social support allowing gay and lesbians to flourish in a community unlike any other in the world.
Historic artifacts such as ferry tickets, theatrical memorabilia, and house signs will be displayed in cases documenting LGBTQ life in Cherry Grove, as well as the participation of Cherry Grove’s gay men and women in local leadership and government, unusual for the time.