What makes an object queer? Collecting and exhibiting LGBT stories in regional museums and archives

Jessie Lymn, Sam Leah

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Abstract

Introduction: This paper addresses the question, What makes an object queer? through the context of a regional museum's current exhibition about the LGBT experience in the region. The research was a collaboration between the exhibition curator and a local researcher.
Method: The research was framed through a queer methodology, using scavenger techniques to draw on literature, exhibition material, ethnography, case studies and interviews to support the discussion.
Analysis: The paper synthesises interviews with donors and museum staff, observations of exhibition space and a consideration of best practice and theoretical literature in the museums and archives disciplines.
Results: The researchers have found that in a regional setting the curatorial process influences the collection and classification of LGBT material in collecting institutions. The challenges this poses raise new ways of thinking about collections practice for museums and archives.
Conclusion: This study contributes to a body of knowledge around LGBT collection practices in museums and archives, arguing for a consideration of specific regional issues within a wider practice. Recognising objects as having a queer potential does not change their role in the museum or archive; rather it enhances their classification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInformation Research
Volume22
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

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