Museums awarded LGBT funds

National Museums Liverpool has been awarded a significant grant to fund research into its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) collections in its art galleries and urban history items at the Museum of Liverpool.

The £91,863 grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund will be used by National Museums Liverpool to support the Pride and Prejudice project.

Working with partner Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove, the two-year project will tackle the challenges faced across the museum sector, by realising the full potential of LGBT collections to ensure that objects and stories within these collections are fully researched, sensitively interpreted and made accessible online and through display to a wide and diverse audience.

Joined by Liverpool-based LGBT arts and social justice organisation Homotopia, National Museums Liverpool will build on current and past LGBT successes that have made a significant impact including the exhibitions April Ashley: Portrait of a lady at the Museum of Liverpool, David Hockney: Early reflections at the Walker Art Gallery and the Un-Straight Museum conference, held at the Museum of Liverpool in 2014. The project will also follow on from the successful exhibition Keith Vaughan: A Volatile Medium at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.

April Ashley: Portrait of a Lady held at Museum of Liverpool earlier this year

As part of its research and development, the Pride and Prejudice project will also produce a series of online ‘toolkits’ for other museums and galleries interested in developing their own LGBT work, covering themes including research, terminology and evaluation.

Ann Bukantas, Head of Fine Art at National Museums Liverpool said: “Working with LGBT collections is a relatively unexplored but vital subject for museums and galleries, and we are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this funding. It will make a real difference to how we understand, use and develop our LGBT collections.
“We look forward to working with all our partners to create long-lasting relationships that will help make our collections and venues more relevant and representative, and we hope that the toolkits we are devising will help other museums nationally to develop their own work in this field.”

The Pride and Prejudice project will enable research to take place into the Museum of Liverpool’s urban history collections in areas such as the history of Liverpool’s LGBT communities, venues and key personalities, including performers and activists. Research will also be undertaken into collections at the Walker Art Gallery and Lady Lever Art Gallery, where many of the LGBT stories in the objects and paintings are currently unknown or hidden.