The first gay museum in America opened yesterday in San Francisco.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History Museum occupies a 1,600ft space in the Castro district.

Artefacts include sex toys, manuscripts and some of gay rights activist Harvey Milk’s belongings.

The museum is only the second globally, as there is a gay museum in Berlin, Germany.

Organisers have a five-year lease on the empty shop-front and hope to sustain the museum through donations and volunteering.

Paul Boneberg, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society, said: “The GLBT History Museum is in the heart of the Castro, a neighborhood visited not only by locals, but also by tens of thousands of tourists every year who come in search of queer culture.

“At our museum, they’ll discover treasures from our archives that reflect fascinating stories spanning nearly a century of GLBT life.

“We have gone all out to create a museum as rich, diverse and surprising as the GLBT community itself. Whether they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or straight, visitors are sure to be moved, enlightened and entertained.”