LGBT artefacts

'Shout queer!' The museums bringing LGBT artefacts out of the closet

Title: 'Shout queer!' The museums bringing LGBT artefacts out of the closet
Author: David Shariatmadari
Media Outlet: The Guardian
Publish Date: July 8, 2019

A darkly jumbled 19th-century anthropological museum, the Pitt Rivers is an unlikely setting for cutting-edge identity politics. But its openness to queer perspectives is part of a wider ethos of interrogation, borne out by the fact that even members of staff describe the collection, gathered magpie-like from cultures around the world, as “incredibly problematic”. Curators are preoccupied by questions such as: How did this stuff get here? Who is it for? And what stories are being told about it? “I think this is a moment of huge change in museums and particularly in collections like [ours],” says head of education Andy McLellan. “When people came into the museum 20 years ago, they just went, ‘Isn’t the Pitt Rivers museum a quaint place! And it’s got these lovely handwritten labels and, oh, they’re a little bit iffy but it’s all about the atmosphere.’ And people are coming into the museum today and they’re saying, ‘You need to change this. You need to face up to these issues. We want to find out about them – we don’t want you hiding them.’”