Something New And Unique For The Greater Palm Springs Area.

The existing museum landscape in the Greater Palm Springs area focuses on local history and contemporary art. The Museum of Ancient Wonders, (MOAW) which opened in 2019, presents a unique proposition for Greater Palm Springs: a museum centered on ancient civilizations and prehistoric life, shedding light on contemporary human experiences. It offers exhibitions, activities and programing that delve into the ancient world, providing valuable context for our modern lives. The Greater Palm Springs Area boasts one of the nation's largest LGBTQ populations. The LGBTQ+ World History Museum (LGBTQ+WHM) promises to illuminate LGBTQ history. Through immersive and exploratory exhibits featuring artifacts, timelines, historical figures, and engaging narratives, visitors will gain insights into the evolution of societal perceptions surrounding LGBTQ identity. The museum will provide a comprehensive understanding of the complexities and contexts of sexual orientation across various historical periods, bridging these narratives to our modern-day understanding.

Location

The Museum of Ancient Wonders, currently based in Cathedral City, is planning to transition to a larger space in Palm Springs and establish the LGBTQ+ World History Museum. A building of interest is the former Desert Sun Newspaper Building, large enough to host MoAW and the LGBTQ+WHM and is positioned across from the Palm Springs Air Museum. Palm Springs City Council Members have endorsed this move.
With 50% of residents identifying as members of the LGBTQ community and being a popular LGBTQ tourist destination Palm Springs is the logical choice for the LGBTQ+ World History Museum.

It Is Time For The LGBTQ+ World History Museum

With several LGBTQ museums throughout the United States and around the world offering local community histories, the time is overdue for a comprehensive educational museum experience chronicling LGBTQ histories, from prehistory to the present.

In 2023 state legislators introduced and passed a record-breaking number of legislative efforts targeting LGBTQ healthcare, access to public accommodations, inclusion in education, and more in the U.S. The American Civil Liberties Union said it recorded 508 bills impacting the community with 84 passed into law in 2023.

It is the time to take a stand, to tell our story, to educate people that LGBTQ individuals have affected human society and civilization since the beginning of time. The museum will help us control the narrative about who we are.

A Vibrant And Welcoming Space For The Entire Community

MoAW and the LGBTQ+WHM will become a landmark cultural campus that enriches the community, educates the public on ancient civilizations, and prehistoric life, empowering individuals to embrace cultural diversity and speak out against bigotry and prejudice. There will be active public spaces, galleries, visiting exhibits and programs. The museum will promote understanding and appreciation of America’s diversity by sharing the differences and similarities throughout all people.

High-Caliber, Relevant, Interactive And Engaging Programing And Exhibits

The museums will offer a wide range of public programming through the Permanent Exhibition Gallery, Temporary Exhibition Galleries and Auditorium. The museum will be home to groundbreaking exhibitions for patrons, present engaging programs for the public, connect people and communities through diverse programming, celebrate arts and culture on a global stage, provide educational opportunities for children, youth, and families, preserve heritage and history for future generations, and host memorable experiences and gatherings as an iconic events venue.

Bringing All Generations Together

The museum will be a center for children and youth to connect to the past and celebrate world cultures and civilizations, history, and diversity; to enrich universal curriculum development for local and surrounding school districts, colleges, and universities. The museum will transcend generations, passing on valuable knowledge, memories, and traditions to future generations. Young people will be inspired and filled with a sense of pride as they discover and unfold the layers of their identity.

Adults of all ages will see their place in a vast history of geology, paleontology, paleoanthropology, and cultural anthropology to the oldest known symbols of LGBTQ relations to the present.

Projecting 120,000 – 150,000 Visitors Annually

MoAW, opened in 2019, and has become a popular tourist destination. For residents we offer programs throughout the year encouraging people to become members as they make frequent return visits. During the pandemic school field trips were put on hold and are now resuming with the museum welcoming public, private and charter schools as well as college and university groups. The Greater Palm Springs area has a large senior citizen population and retirement community residents enjoy museum tours with a docent leading the group. Many other organizations are including MoAW on their activities list and returning annually; the Northwestern University Alumni Club of the Coachella Valley, the Palm Springs Neuro-Vitality Center, the James O. Jesse Desert Highland Unity Center to mention a few, and the list is growing.

Palm Springs is legendarily known as an accepting community for all sexual orientations and gender identities, with 50% of residents identifying as LGBTQ. Warm, sunny weather, music and cultural festivals, circuit parties, and LGBTQ specific accommodations attract visitors from around the world. The Palm Springs Air Museum sees over 150,000 visitors annually, and the Palm Springs Art Museum 135,000, through exhibits and events we anticipate comparable visitor numbers.

The primary audience for LGBTQ+WHM will be the LBGTQ community, both Palm Springs area residents and national and international visitors. Our goal is to represent all parts of the LGBTQ community, all sexual orientations, gender identities, racial backgrounds, nationalities, income levels, and ages. Secondary market segments will include family members, allies, and special interest users such as educators, media makers, and policy advocates.

In addition to these in person visitors we will work with partners around the country to produce rotating and traveling exhibitions, public programs, and online museum tours and videos to expand our reach.

Budget For Building Acquisition And Renovations

The asking price for the former Desert Sun Building is $10MM. All figures are estimated.

Building Acquisition $10,000,000

Predevelopment/Carry, covers Phase 1 and 2 4,500,000

Construction/Buildout – Phase 1 1,000,000

LGBTQ Museum Exhibit – Phase 1 500,000

Construction/Buildout – Phase 2 43,000,000

LGBTQ Museum Immersive Exhibit – Phase 2 1,000,000

Total Projected Budget $60,000,000

The Project Will Unfold In Two Phases:

Projected time frames for the former Desert Sun building:

Phase 1. Estimated 6-12 Months from building acquisition.
This phase involves transforming the building's front half first floor, approximately 26,000 square feet. MoAW's existing core collections will relocate here, alongside a preliminary showcase of the LGBTQ+ World History Museum. This preview aims to attract public interest, press coverage, and funding for the next phase while educating visitors about related topics. Concurrently, we are assembling a team of consultants specializing in architectural and engineering aspects, institutional planning, fundraising strategies, exhibit design, and museum conceptualization.

Phase 2. Estimated 24-36 Months from building Acquisition. Will start at building acquisition and run concurrently with phase 1.
This phase will build upon ongoing fundraising efforts to develop the back half of the building, currently an expansive, open two-story space. This phase involves opening walls and constructing a six-rise staircase and ramp connecting the front and back sections of the building.

An auditorium will be constructed to host dynamic public programming for all ages, including performances, lectures, film screenings, and special events. These initiatives aim to foster meaningful dialogues, connecting communities and celebrating the rich diversity of humanity. The exhibits will continue on the second floor displaying artifacts and expanding the narrative.

Accessible For Everyone

Construction will adhere to ADA guidelines keeping the existing elevator and adding ramps to newly opened spaces. It will be intellectually accessible through exhibits and programing to a wide range of visitors who come to the museum with different expectations and educational backgrounds.

Serving Diverse Communities

The Museum of Ancient Wonders welcomes a diverse audience, offering an array of programming suitable for individuals of various ages and backgrounds. While the museum's permanent exhibitions will focus on classical museum experiences, delving into the realms of ancient civilizations, prehistoric life, and cultural anthropology, our visiting exhibition gallery will continuously display a variety of exhibits from national and international museums and exhibit companies highlighting global cultures throughout the year.

“Behind The Mask,” a unique permanent exhibit dedicated to African American heritage featuring thirty-four authentic masks and sculptures representing multiple African nations and cultures spanning nearly 2,000 years, is the only exhibition in the Greater Palm Springs area honoring African history.

MoAW and the LGBTQ+WHM seeks to be accessible and engaging to all visitors, the building is handicapped accessible, and we are actively collaborating with the Network Selection Head of the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled to develop specialized programs catering to individuals with visual and hearing impairments

Recognizing our region's substantial LGBTQ population and its status as a renowned LGBTQ destination, the LGBTQ+ World History Museum will play a pivotal role in educating enthusiasts about the extensive history of same-sex experiences and sexual nonconformity across millennia. This initiative aims to engage an audience uniquely aligned with the region's interests.

Local And National Partnerships And Collaborations

MoAW aims to build strong partnerships with community groups across the Greater Palm Springs Region such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, senior centers, and the James O Jessee Dessert Highland Unity Center whom we have collaborated with on summer programs. Relationships will be built locally and nationally with other libraries, archives and museums, research and advocacy groups, LGBTQ centers, social service providers and other groups and organizations where meaningful project and working alliances can be established.

Self-Sustaining

The museum will generate revenue to support the ongoing operations of the institution through admission fees, memberships, proceeds from the gift shop, café lease, and the rental of museum spaces that will serve as a premier event venue for the public. As a non-profit organization, under one EIN, the Museum of Ancient Wonders and the LGBTQ+ World History Museums will support the ongoing operations through its endowment funds, grants from foundations, government, and corporate partners.

Support Opportunities

Collaborating with the LGBTQ+ World History Museum, MoAW is reaching out to corporate philanthropy divisions, foundations, individual donors, and interested organizations to support our mission and establish the only museum in the United States displaying the history of the LGBTQ community in an unprecedented global timeline, from 10,000 years ago to the present. Once a permanent building is secured naming opportunities will be offered for galleries and other spaces within.

Investing In The Project

Since opening in 2019, MoAW has established diversification in the museum landscape in the Greater Palm Springs area, bolstering universal curriculum development for approximately 70,000 public school students, the College of the Desert, and California State University San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus. By elevating educational standards with significant exhibitions and introducing the unique LGBTQ+ World History Museum to an underserved demographic, MoAW also aims to attract tourists, thereby fueling the vital hospitality industry. Ultimately, the Museum seeks to evolve into an educational, cultural, and economic cornerstone for the Greater Palm Springs Area.

LGBTQ people are a community of survivors, artists, leaders, authors, scientists, entertainers, sports figures, musicians, activists, politicians and world leaders and other community members who have contributed to serve thriving communities throughout the world including in the United States. The museum will complement the community infrastructure built in Palm Springs and across the country by serving as a public facing institution with national and global reach. The museum will present, display, and elevate stories, experiences, and contributions to a broad and diverse audience throughout the world. The museum will preserve, share, and celebrate LGBTQ heritage while serving as a bridge between a multitude of communities to foster understanding and connection. Your generous contributions will support the creation of the first cultural and educational center of its kind in America.