The American LGBTQ+ Museum continues to evolve as the organization prepares to open at the New York Historical Society in 2026. In March, the museum announced a new addition to its team: Suhaly Bautista-Carolina will join the organization as its first director of public programs and partnerships.
Bautista-Carolina will oversee the museum’s efforts to unify the institution’s vision, museum officials say.
“Suhaly will grow the museum on the national stage while ensuring it stays connected to local communities as a valuable resource,” according to a statement from the museum.
The museum’s executive director, Ben Garcia, says, “I could not be happier to have Suhaly as a partner in this work. They bring deep experience, kindness, and creativity to our vision for a museum rooted in LGBTQ+ liberation. And a sprinkling of queer magic as well.”
Suhaly Bautista-Carolina photographed by Elena Mudd
Bautista-Carolina isn’t new to the museum world. They were the senior managing educator of audience development and engagement at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. There they organized the Afrofuturist Teen Council in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and assisted in the development of MetFest, the museum’s inaugural block party celebration. The New York native also has worked at Creative Time, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute.
Growing up, Bautista-Carolina’s parents would take them to museums around the city.
“It was not surprising to me that I would end up in this career,” they say. “At the same time, I thought that museums needed a lot of work. I thought there were many moments where I didn’t see myself represented.”
It’s through their work that they realized they could be a catalyst for change.
“I find myself really believing that change is possible in museums and am really excited about the opportunity to start a museum [and] be part of starting something brand new. That feels like a privilege and something that I’m really excited by.”
Bautista-Carolina has already hit the ground running.
“Partnerships are really critical to the way that I think about our work at the museum,” they say. “Everything will be done in partnership, and we really want to be informed by the communities we serve. We’re having a lot of conversations with potential partners, both in New York where we’ll be rooted, and across the country to imagine the types of collaborations and initiatives that could come of those conversations.”
They pointed out that even though The American LGBTQ+ Museum doesn’t open a physical space until 2026, it’s already started programs both at the New York Historical Society and virtually. Bautista-Carolina says it’s important for the institution to already be creating and running programs since they want people to be familiar with the museum once its doors actually open.
The programs and partnerships under Bautista-Carolina will be built around an understanding of the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community.
“Queer people have an important and evolving history, and it’s really critical for us to look at all the different perspectives and all of the varied and diverse stories that exist out there,” they say.
Instead of leaning into one narrative too much, Bautista-Carolina says the museum wants to amplify those diverse experiences. They want people to know that the museum is meant to be a collaboration with LGBTQ+ people and their communities: “I think this museum will really be a place dedicated to queer liberation.”
ALM is partnering with the Meatpacking District Management Association for their forthcoming exhibition, “A District Defined: Streets, Sex, + Survival,” running from June 15 through July 4 with an opening party slated for June 15 (a location for both wasn’t announced as of press time). The museum will also have a presence at New Queens Pride (June 4), Brooklyn Pride (June 10), and New York Pride (June 25).