The UK’s first national LGBTQ+ museum has opened in Camden.
Established by the charity Queer Britain, the Queer Britain Museum opened on 5 May and is located on Granary Square, a site inherited from the national fundraising charity Art Fund.
The space houses photographs from exhibitions and projects the charity has put together over the past four years, such as a 2019 collaboration with Levi’s called ‘Chosen Family’ and the collection of historical images of queer activists, early prides, political scandals, and more, donated by Getty Images and M&C Saatchi to Queer Britain.
Stephanie Stevens, front of house and volunteer manager, said: “This is a space for everyone. We are not just a celebratory space for queer identities, which of course is who we are, we are also an educational space for everyone on what is really an unknown history.”
Joseph Galliano, the museum’s director, came up with the idea to build up a space dedicated to LGBTQ+ history in 2018 when he realised there was a lack of representation of the LGBTQ+ community.
With the help of a board of experts from different paths and backgrounds and a number of donors, patrons and partners, after a four-year process the museum was ready to open and become a safe space for every visitor.
As Stevens said, the biggest challenge the charity faced during the process of setting up the museum was getting the funds: “Whenever you associate the LGBTQ+ community with a project, a lot of people don’t take it seriously.”
Nevertheless, the charity achieved its biggest goal.
The opening was described by Stevens as an emotional day, with people from all over the United Kingdom and even Italy wanting to be there and honor this important moment and being grateful but also asking for more.
Stevens explained: “As queer people, we are so used to accepting crumbs off the table and being told to be grateful for that.
We are so used to having a backroom in someone else’s establishment and being told that’s enough.
Queer Britain is really us putting us sit down and saying ‘No, that’s enough of that’.
We want our own space, we don’t have to be grateful for the bare minimum.
We can have a museum that stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the other great museums in this wonderful city.”
The Queer Britain Museum is already working on some future plans, such as an exhibition that will be held in July.
Featured image: Pixabay