SAN FRANCISCO, January 12, 2011 (AFP) – The first gay museum in the United States opens officially on Thursday in San Francisco’s famed Castro District.

The Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender (GLBT) Museum had a “soft opening” a day early, with founders cautioning that a few pieces had yet to be completed.

“We have gone all out to create a museum as rich, diverse and surprising as the GLBT community itself,” said GLBT Historical Society executive director Paul Boneberg.

On display are pink-framed sunglasses, a whistle, Levi jeans and other belongings of Harvey Milk, the city’s first openly gay elected official.

Milk was assassinated in 1978 and his colorful and poignant story was captured in a film starring Sean Penn.

Exhibits were also said to include sex toys.

“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,” Boneberg said.

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

An opening gala complete with ribbon cutting was planned for Thursday.

The museum was billed as the second of its kind, the first having been opened decades ago in Berlin.