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The archive is the heart of the Schwules Museum. Featuring more than  1.500.000 items, it is by far the largest and most extensive collection of documents, ephemera, and artwork associated with LGBTIQ* history and culture in Germany. Our archive is among the most important centers for LGBTIQ* research worldwide, and is in constant conversation with our exhibition and public events program.

The collections grow daily through donations, transfers of LGBTIQ* related collections from public archives, associations and political groups. If you are interested in donating collections to the Museum, please contact archivbibliothek@schwulesmuseum.de

The collections are only partially processed. Finding aids for the processed sections of the collections are available on-site.


Reading Room

The library of the Schwules Museum doubles as the archive’s reading room and is located in the upper floor of the museum. It is wheelchair accessible via elevator. Please register your visit one week in advance. The reading room is staffed with a reference assistant or volunteer who can help you navigate our collections.


Archival materials are not available on the day they are ordered. Orders placed Thursdays and Fridays will be available for review the following Monday. Orders made by Wednesday at 3:30PM will be available to review the following Thursday.


About the Archive

The archive has developed along with the museum; beginning in 1985 as an archive of the gay movement, it has since expanded beyond those themes. The mission of the archive, according to the statutes of the Association, is:

“… the exploration of the daily life, culture and the movement of homosexual and transgender people, past and present. To this end, artworks, books and other materials shall be collected and made accessible to the public.”

In contrast to state archives which classify their materials according to the principle of provenance (according to their origins), the archive at the Schwules Museum works with a mix of the principles of provenance and pertinence. This means bequests from individuals or groups will be stored according to their origins, but much larger sections are organized according to topics, events, territories or persons (= principle of pertinence).

We make every effort to process our holdings and make them available according to archival standards (storage in archival folders, organizational systems, signatures, inventory indexing). Since work on the archive is done primarily on a volunteer basis, not all bequests have been indexed. This can result in some limitations to use.


Kristine Schmidt M.A.
Collections & Archives
Tel.: +49 (0)30 61 20 22 86

Opening hours

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 2-6 pm

The use of the library and archive is possible without prior registration.