Years of hidden documentation finally revealed
As of now in London, England, plans are in the works to create the world’s largest LGBTQ+ museum. Named Queer Britain: The National LGBTQ+ Museum, this repository will be fully devoted in creating an immersive experience that draws from centuries of queer history. Scheduled to open in 2021, Queer Britain hopes to attract a broad audience and convey untold stories from the LGBTQ+ community. From art to film footage, placards, and audio recordings, this museum will allow viewers to understand how this community has been under years of oppression and forced into hiding their identities. Most importantly, it will celebrate the emergence of homosexuality as a distinct identity, as well as showcase the community in a more positive, vibrant, and beautiful light.
The CEO of the project is author, editor, and charity communications strategist Joseph Galliano, who told Buzzfeed News that, “The museum will reflect every race, gender, and orientation under the LGBTQ+ umbrella in a bid to preserve histories that have been ignored or destroyed—before it is too late.” He hopes to provoke as much empathy in visitors as possible and offer LGBTQ+ representation, especially for people who live in countries with little to no access to visible LGBTQ+ culture. One of the few artifacts in the museum will be the Warren Cup—a silver drinking cup decorated in relief with two images of male same-sex acts—and the door of Oscar Wilde’s Reading Gaol prison cell. This is especially significant, since the famous playwright and poet, who had a string of male lovers, was arrested and sent to Reading Gaol in 1895 for gross indecency with men under the UK’s historic anti-gay laws.
LGBTQ+ persons are one of the many groups who saw the most dramatic social, legal, and cultural changes in modern history. This museum will span across a collection of historical, artistic, political, and cultural artifacts that lead up to present-day events marking historical moments for the LGBTQ+ community such as the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2014 in the United States. When it comes to LGBTQ+ representation, the museum aims to fill a perceived gap in the world’s understanding of the community itself. “I want it to be somewhere that people can see themselves reflected and validated in the heart of the culture in a confident, mainstream institution,” Galliano told Buzzfeed. In a community where it was a crime to be who you are, where people were constantly faced with threats of persecution, this institution will tackle problems within the LGBTQ+ community and pull at guests’ heartstrings by showing the victories and setbacks of sexual liberation and queer rights.
For now, this museum will focus on the British experience of LGBTQ+ life but in the future will expand globally. But this is a museum for everyone, a safe space where people can go to learn and understand. It will unravel years of secrecy and suppression by shame and document a community that is long overdue when it comes to historically protected representation.