The UK’s first LGBTQ museum is due to open this spring in London, founded by the charity Queer Britain. The museum will be located on the ground floor of 2 Granary Square in Kings Cross in the building owned by the Art Fund charity. The space will house four galleries, a workshop, an education space, gift shop and offices.
The new institution “celebrates the stories, people and places that are so intrinsic to the queer community in the UK, and beyond”, says a statement. The museum’s plans and programming schedules are due to be announced; crucially, there will be no admission fee.
It will be funded through “all the usual channels: donations, retail, partnerships, trusts and foundations. Queer Britain is a fully registered charity,” says a spokesman for Queer Britain. Donors who contribute are sent a message, saying: “We are losing stories and artefacts every day and need a central space to examine, understand and celebrate our stories.”
“[Queer Britain’s] exciting proposal for the first UK museum dedicated to exploring LGBTQ+ histories, people and ideas was warmly supported by our trustees, and we're thrilled that our beautiful building in Granary Square will be home for the first phase of the Queer Britain museum,” says Jenny Waldman, the director of Art Fund, in a statement. The Granary Square tenancy is initially for two years.
The museum director is Joseph Galliano, the chief executive of Queer Britain and former editor of Gay Times. The museum’s advisory group includes Clare Barlow, curator team lead at the Science Museum Group, and Sandy Nairne, the former director of the National Portrait Gallery in London. Photographer Robert Taylor is among the trustees.
Queer Britain’s archive is currently housed at the Bishopsgate Institute near Liverpool Street station, which also holds a vast lesbian and gay news media archive and a library of around 10,000 LGBTQ titles. “Queer Britain’s collection is looked after by the Bishopsgate Institute; they [Bishopsgate] will continue with building their own LGBTQ+ collection as well,” the Queer Britain spokesman adds.
Other UK museums also have significant LGBTQ archives including National Museums Liverpool—encompassing objects such as flyers and literature linked to key gay UK events and clubs—and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, which contains a range of objects linked to LGBTQ history.