Tuesday October 18th Queer Britain: The National LGBTQ+ Museum welcomed a host of VIPs for the reception of its debut exhibition ‘We are Queer Britain’. The intimate celebration was hosted at the museum, in Granary Square, where guests had a chance to experience the diverse collection of LGBTQ+ history exhibited within the “We Are Queer Britain” exhibition. The exhibition marks the 50th Anniversary of the UK’s first Pride March – a poignant turning point for gay liberation – and contains objects such as the cell door from Oscar Wilde’s Reading Gaol cell, on loan from the National Justice Museum.
The event was attended by a number of LGBTQ+ celebrities including Sir Ian McKellen, Omari Douglas, Grace Davies, Glyn Fussel, L Devine as well as a handful of high profile business people, industry and community leaders. The event included a speech from director and co-founder, Joseph Galliano-Doig, as well as a performance by southeast London newcomer Ellauro who performed unreleased tracks ‘Blindfire’ and ‘Religion of Tenderness’ to a spellbound audience.
Speaking at the launch event, Joseph Galliano-Doig added: “Everyday people tell us that the exhibition makes them feel seen. It shows how far we have come, and how the world can be changed for the better when LGBTQ+ people stand together and insist on the right to be recognition and freedom.” He continues “particularly at a time when some parts of our community are under attack, this is a space where we want people to feel fully included and feel at home. This is a place of unity.”
The museum has seen an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the “We Are Queer Britain” exhibition, for which they have been shortlisted for the Museum Association’s Best Small Museum Project Award at their Museums Change Lives Awards 2022. The awards recognise the best projects in the past year that reflect one or more of the themes of: Promoting Health and Wellbeing; Creating Better Places; and Inspiring Engagement, Reflection and Debate. This year’s awards will take place in Edinburgh on Thursday 3 November as part of the Museums Association’s annual conference.
During the reception, Joseph announced the launch of The 2023 Madame F Queer Britain Art Award. The theme is Queer Creativity and artwork of any 2D form can be submitted at www.queerbritain.org.uk until January 1st. Prizes of £1500, £1000 and £500 will be announced in the Spring. Sadie Lee won the award last year for her breathtaking portrait of queer performance icon David Hoyle, which is on display in the current exhibition.
Queer Britain opened the UK’s first bricks and mortar LGBTQ+ museum earlier this year and has since solidified itself as a space dedicated to the queer community. Welcoming over 30,000 visitors since opening, the museum brings pieces of UK’s varied and rich queer history into the spotlight. Highlighting an array of artefacts, voices, objects and images from the worlds of activism, art, culture and social history, the exhibition covers over 100 years of queer life. Alongside objects from the Queer Britain archive, the exhibition includes loans from the Charleston Trust, the Museum of London, the National Justice Museum, the Bishopsgate Institute, and members of the community itself.