LGBTQ+ Diary Blog 3 – Researching our Collections

Posted: 18th August 2020

Humber Museums Partnership - LGBTQ+ Diary Blog 3 – Researching our Collections

This week we had our first LGBTQ+ Awareness training with Yorkshire MESMAC – and it went great!

Hull Museums staff were able to join the training via Zoom from their homes. The session lasted two and a half hours and whilst led by Yorkshire MESMAC, it offered staff the opportunity to ask questions and discuss with others. We learnt about the history of Pride, what a hate crime is and how to report it, we looked at definitions and even did a few quizzes. It was a great opportunity for us to self-assess and think about moving forward. I am really looking forward to our next few sessions.

This week we have also been doubling down on identifying LGBTQ+ narratives within our collections. Historically LGBTQ+ stories have been missing or erased in many ways, and within museum collections it is no different. A major part of the LGBTQ+ working group’s purpose is to change this. However, this is not as easy as it may sound. There is no denying that we hold objects in our collections with queer histories, however, these histories have not always been clearly documented so we are finding it hard to identify them.

Looking at the art collection has been an easy first step. In the Ferens Art Gallery collection we hold work by Maggie Hambling, David Hockney, and Rosa Bonheur, and other works where the subject of the work is Sappho, St Sebastian and the Greek legend of Jupiter and Ganymede – just to name a few.
Members of the LGBTQ+ working group have been writing blogs on the art collection, including one on bisexual artist Gwen John, and another on Anya Gallaccio – an active advocate for equal immigration rights for LGBTQ+ couples.

Portrait of Queen Anne in oval frame, seated in full regalia with long brown curled hair, small coronet of red silk and gold frame.I have also been looking into the story behind a paining which currently hangs in the Guildhall. It is a portrait of Queen Anne. She was the last of the Stuarts and reigned Queen 1702 – 1714. Her relationship with Lady Sarah Churchill has recently been depicted in The Favourite, a 2018 movie with Queen Anne played by Olivia Colman and Lady Sarah played by Rachel Weisz. It has been interesting to research the facts surrounding their relationship, how Lady Sarah’s want for wealth and power overshadowed that of Queen Anne’s want for companionship. The implications that their power struggle had on the running of the country is an interesting part of the story which will be a great addition to our understanding of our collections.

Keep a look out for these blogs coming soon!

Next week we will be looking at much more local queer histories. Let us know in the comments below what you would like us to write a research blog on.