UK: What makes a museum object queer?

Museums are trying to make themselves a little less straight and a little more gay.

LGBT History Month is here. Gay geeks may once again be heading to their local museum or library to see which queer object they’ve got out from the archives this year. The LGBT History Month national programme of events features plenty of things to see and do, and it’s pleasing to see that more and more gets programmed each year.

Museums are the first to acknowledge that they face a few challenges when it comes to taking on gay history. Many of our nation’s great object and art collections were built by posh, white, straight men. In recent years museums have done good work looking again at their collections from different perspectives in an attempt to make their offer to the public a bit less posh, a bit less white, a bit less male dominated and, yes a bit less straight.

It’s been an eye-opening process for some, finding out that well-to-do Victorian collectors didn’t necessarily fully understand all the objects they collected. Or did they? There’s homoerotic art all over the place. Just take a look at the Warren Cup in the British Museum – no Victorian collector could mistake the imagery on this object. And the British Museum has done strong work in recent years to set this object in context, rather than displaying it as a source of dirty giggles. Read more via EQ