Main | Thursday, January 24, 2013

FLORIDA: World AIDS Museum Proposed For Tourism Mecca Wilton Manors

Wilton Manors, Florida is arguably the hottest gay vacation spot in the nation and it may one day be home to the World AIDS Museum & Education Center. The proposed museum is the brainchild of local long-term HIV survivor Steve Stagnon, who unveiled the plans at a ceremony this week.

Tony Adams reports at South Florida Gay News:
Having managed the complex challenges of 501c3 incorporation, and having enlisted the support, partnership and funding of community leaders, Stagon led an enthusiastic crowd through a sampling of proposed displays, and through an outline of the structure and purpose of the museum. In his speech, he noted that Fort Lauderdale has eleven museums, but Wilton Manors has none. He made a convincing argument for finding a Wilton Manors location for the project—ideally on Wilton Drive within the cluster of gay shops, bars and restaurants—citing demographics and tourism numbers (a million annual gay tourists spending $1.2 billion).  Although it might be difficult to find anyone in south Florida whose life has not been touched by the disease and who might need convincing (Broward County has the highest new infection rate in the country,) Stagon offered statistics that support the need for an AIDS Museum. “Since 1980, 60 million people have contracted HIV and 25 million people have died of AIDS worldwide,” he said. “Since 1980, more than 600,000 Americans have died from AIDS complications making it a worse killer than World Wars I and II and Vietnam combined. AIDS is still a crisis. People become complacent about it but every year 17,000 people die of AIDS.”
Hit the link for a description of the museum's five proposed galleries.

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