Posted: 27th August 2020
As part of improving our representation of LGBTQ+ narratives at Hull Museums, we wanted to ensure we were able to do this across our whole service – including collections research, interpretation, and programming.
With this in mind, we had some big plans for June 2020. To coincide with Pride in Hull we wanted to host a number of events, possibly tours or crafts, to guarantee we had visible LGBTQ+ supportive programming available to our visitors. Unfortunately, all events – including Pride in Hull – were cancelled when the museums closed due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
But this week I have some great news to share with you – we are planning a digital exhibition called Pride in our City!
This exhibition will celebrate Pride in Hull and will be made up of submissions from our local communities. We are currently working with colleagues from Pride in Hull and Yorkshire MESMAC on how we can do this – how is the best way to get you involved! If you would like to contribute to the Pride in Our City exhibition, make sure to keep following these diary blogs for further information.
This week we have also been looking into local queer histories, from in and around Hull. We have discovered we are not short of amazing stories! Here are a few brief introductions.
– Elsa Gidlow was born in Hull in 1898. She emigrated to Canada at an early age, but she is best known for writing On a Grey Thread (1923), the first volume of openly lesbian love poetry published in North America.
– Dan Billany was born in Hull in 1913. He joined the army following the outbreak of World War II. Dan was captured and became a prisoner of war in Italy, where he fell in love with a fellow prisoner named David.
– Dr Mary Murdoch was Hull’s first female GP. She worked closely here in Hull with Dr Louisa Martindale. Martindale went on to have a 35-year long relationship with Ismay Fitzgerald and write a chapter in her autobiography about her time spent with Mary.
– Annie Winifred Ellerman, was a writer and the daughter of Sir John Ellerman, the owner of Ellerman’s Wilson Line (previously the Wilson Shipping Line, founded in Hull by Thomas Wilson in 1840). She went by the pseudonym Bryher, and along with her female partner H.D, supported many other struggling writers with their careers.
We are continuing our research into these histories to develop our understanding of how we can honestly represent them within our museums. Uncovering these under-represented stories in our collections is an exciting part of working in a museum. I cannot wait to share our research with you – we have some very interesting research, diary and Curator’s Choice blogs coming soon!