“It’s time the UK had an LGBTQ+ museum, for all.”Joseph Galliano, director and co-founder
Last Thursday, Queer Britain, the first LGBTQ museum in UK history, officially opened its doors to the public. Almost 50 years after the UK’s first Pride March in London, the country finally has a space dedicated to honoring and preserving the history of its vibrant LGBTQ community.
While the museum opened only earlier this month, it has been a labor of love, involving a lot of behind-the-scenes work going as far back as 2018. Co-founder and director Joseph Galliano has been working on exhibits and events for several years. Earlier this year, the official location in London’s King’s Cross neighborhood was acquired. Today, Queer Britain resides on the second floor of Granary Square. The museum houses photos and paintings for the public to view.
If you’re interested in museums and cultural hubs in London, check out the London Arts & Culture page.
What and Why
Queer Britain’s mission is to help “complete the Nation’s family tree” by including the often-overlooked history of LGBTQ+ persons in the UK. The project is about telling a complete and honest history of art and social movements in the country. It does this by affirming that LGBTQ+ persons were and are involved in shaping history.
The museum states that “Queer people have impacted every part of culture.” However, the contributions and lives of LGBTQ+ folk are often left in the “margins of history books.” Without an institution to preserve these stories, they’ll be lost to time. The museum’s contributors point out that there are already so many stories and pieces we can no longer access due to their being lost or destroyed. This space will ensure that some of the past remains and is saved for us and our future to learn from.
Welcome to Queer Britain
“Welcome to Queer Britain” is the premier exhibition in Queer Britain’s new space. It consists of pieces from the museum’s own photography archives. These pieces show the museum’s mission of preservation and celebration. The exhibit is curated by LGBTQ+ history curator Matthew Storey. He has included artwork from past exhibits to display alongside the photography.
This museum opening is itself a valuable piece of history! We hope that it pushes others to follow in its steps and create more spaces of education and celebration where saving our precious queer history is a priority.