The World AIDS Museum in Wilton Manors offers an interesting look at the history of AIDS, as well as how far we’ve come as a society. From vibrant quilts to historical exhibitions, the things to see, do and learn at the museum are constantly changing. Original works of art are the focus of the museum, which is all about documenting the disease, educating the public, and making people more aware about the tragedy it continues to inflict on individuals and families.
Interesting Facts About the World AIDS Museum
#1. A Group Called Pozitive Attitudes Started it All
What started off as a simple idea born from the Fort Lauderdale group, Pozitive Attitudes, has since flourished into an incredible museum and educational center. Pozitive Attitudes is a topic-driven group focused on helping those who are infected or affected by HIV.
It is estimated that 1.1 million people living in the US are infected with HIV today. About 15 percent remain unaware that they are infected. In 2016, it was estimated that 38,700 Americans became newly infected with HIV.
The organizer behind Pozitive Attitudes began displaying exhibits at the Pride Center of South Florida, and at Blanche Ely High School in 2007. His artful and fact-based displays drew attention from members of the group. And on September 20, 2011, the idea for a complete museum was born.
Steve Stagon, President and CEO of the World AIDS Museum has been quoted discussing the concept for the museum. He said it was created by people who had been impacted the disease, and who realized the importance of sharing the history of AIDS to educate people and to share a message that “this cannot happen again. The world cannot isolate groups and fail to help because the group may not represent everyone. By addressing the disease with research and technology, AIDS can not only be controlled, but is on the brink of eradication. We should have been at this point years ago.”
#2. They Are a Non-Profit Organization on a Mission
The World AIDS Museum was incorporated as a non-profit organization. Their mission is to raise awareness and reduce stigmas surrounding HIV/AIDS through their work of documenting, remembering, educating, enlightening and empowering people.
#3. Magic Johnson Played a Role
On November 7, 2013, Magic Johnson visited the World AIDS Museum and established the space as the first museum established in honor of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Magic Johnson is one of the most prominent people who has been diagnosed with HIV and openly shared his diagnoses and journey with the world. 22 years prior to establishing the museum, he announced his HIV status to the world. The museum officially opened to the public in May 2014.
#5. The Location Couldn’t Be More Perfect
The World AIDS Museum is located in the most perfect location – after all, Wilton Manors is the most fabulous gayborhood in the US, and Fort Lauderdale is officially home to the largest gay community in the country. Not to mention, Wilton Manors is the first city in Florida to announce an all-LGBT city commission. It’s only the second in the country, right behind Palm Springs, California.
Wilton Manors is home to the second largest population of gay couples, it falls right behind Provincetown, Mass.
That’s not to say AIDS is solely a gay disease – instead, it is a disease that impacts people from all walks of life and of all sexual preferences.
#6. There Are New Ongoing Events all the Time
If you plan to stop by the museum, make sure to check out their list of ongoing events – there’s always something new and exciting going on at the museum. From a community dialogue series to art exhibits and star-studded dinners, this is a must-visit location while in Wilton Manors.
Your Peaceful Retreat in Wilton Manors
Inn on the Drive is the perfect place to stay no matter what you are planning to do in Wilton Manors. We are centrally located right off the most vibrant street in town, Wilton Drive. Plus, we are just three minutes from the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center.