Every now and then you read a fact, or come to a realization, that can be a bit sobering. One such fact: that the UK’s first ever national LGBTQ+ museum only just opened in 2022. Sad though it may be that it took so long for it to be established, we’re sure grateful it exists. The Queer Britain museum joins the ranks of London’s free museums in offering a thoughtful, educational day out – without tugging on the purse strings. The museum is celebratory, representative, and informative – it allows the country’s queer communities to find a record of their past, and allows them to look to their future.
Though the museum may be new on the scene, they’ve already made a splash. At the Museums Association’s Museums Change Lives Awards 2022, Queer Britain were awarded the Best Small Museum Project for their inaugural exhibition, ‘We Are Queer Britain!’. Not a shabby showing, and a clear demonstration of the museum’s efforts and dedication to telling queer stories.
What’s on at the Queer Britain museum
The award-winning ‘We Are Queer Britain!‘ exhibition remains in place at Queer Britain. The exhibition, which arrived in 2022 shortly after the museum’s opening, marks the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Pride March. It’s described as “a diverse and rich array of artifacts that culminates voices, objects and images from the worlds of activism, art, culture and social history covering over 100 years of queer life.”
Additionally, the museum is hosting two special events for LGBT+ History Month. A panel discussion on February 26 will see Zorian Clayton in conversation with photographers Robert Taylor and Alia Romagnoli. Both photographers have work currently on display at Queer Britain.
There will also be a photography workshop on February 12, from Dr Asa Johannesson, Senior Lecturer at the School of Art and Media at the University of Brighton. Both events are based around the theme ‘Behind the Lens’, with the workshop allowing participants to “explore the perspectives and experiences of queer photographers and their subjects” as they are guided through a series of exercises and discussions.
Where is the Queer Britain museum?
Queer Britain can be found near King’s Cross station, in Granary Square. It occupies part of a historic building owned by the charity, Art Fund. Inside, the museum houses four gallery spaces, a gift shop, and office facilities. There are also education and workshop spaces inside the museum. The museum is fully accessible, with lifts and ramps, as well as exhibition labels available in large print on request. Naturally it’s a welcoming and inclusive space for all.
Before moving into the venue, the space was occupied by Quentin Blake’s House of Illustration. The space is the result of a four year journey of raising money and looking for appropriate venues, which kicked off back in 2018 with the launch of the Queer Britain project.
How to get involved
With the museum still in its early stages, they welcome donations and support. If you want to help save LGBTQ+ history you can become a Queer Britain Founding Member. A monthly gift of support (they suggest £10) nets you access to special members-only events, goodies such as a tote bag and badges, and signs you up for quarterly email updates. You can also make one-off donations, or join their Patron Circles. For just £10, you could help the museum to fill an archive. Further donation amounts allow them to rescue LGBTQ+ stories, and helps them to stage future exhibitions.
Head on down, learn a little, and maybe see yourself represented in a way you haven’t before in a museum. Queer Britain is here to remind us to of Britain’s LGBTQ+ history, and ensure we never forget it.