January 25, 2013
Steve Stagon, a 23-year survivor of HIV infection, recently unveiled his plans for a World AIDS Museum and Educational Center in Wilton Manors, Fla. At the unveiling on January 17, he provided sample displays and an outline of the structure and purpose of the museum. Stagon presented his arguments on the need for an AIDS museum and for Wilton Manors as its location. He explained that the museum's mission is "to increase awareness and decrease the stigma of AIDS by documenting the history of HIV/AIDS, memorializing those who have suffered from the disease, educating people about the disease, enlightening people about the continuation and spread of the epidemic, and empowering its survivors." Each of the five parts of mission would be housed in its own gallery.
Stagon acknowledged that the museum is starting small, but he presented examples of other local organizations that had a small beginning and have grown. His allies and supporters include experienced local activists and he also has the support, partnership, and funding of community leaders. At present, the museum needs a 1,000- to 2,500-square-foot location as well as volunteers and funding beyond the contributions of the founding members. Individuals wishing to participate in the project can visit www.WorldAIDSMuseum.com.