National Maritime Museum responds to ‘misleading’ news stories

The museum responded to recent news articles which it said had misrepresented its LGBTQ+ History Month event.

The National Maritime Museum has labelled some news coverage of its LGBTQ+ History Month plans ‘‘misleading’, following publications in the national press.

In a statement, the museum said “two misleading stories” had been published, relating to both the sculptures in its Sea Things gallery and details of its LGBTQ+ History Month events.

It added that “[a] series of derivative articles followed in other publications and media which did not pick up on the misrepresentation, and consequently were based on incomplete information.”

The comments follow a story in The Sun on Friday which said that Lord Nelson, a subject of the museum’s event, was “to be reimagined as gay icon”.

The museum did not specify the publications to which it was referring. It said it has not changed its plans regarding its commentary and presentation on Nelson.

The museum’s Queer History Night series features talks and performances by researchers and artists, who have been inspired by the Museum’s collection.

The museum told The Sun newspaper “This is not about questioning Nelson’s sexuality but how men within a male environment establish friendship and devotion.”

“A current research project is exploring the inspirational legacy of Nelson through the words of admiration recorded in letters kept in the Museum’s archive.”

In its statement, the museum clarified: “Nelson has been used as a starting point to engage new audiences. While the Museum approaches its historical stories from an evidence-based position, it also gives space to more emotive and creative responses to people, events and objects, as a way of engaging audiences.”

It added that it has continued to work with LGBTQ+ communities to “widen public understanding of the nation’s rich maritime heritage”.

“The Museum has supported and created multiple publications and exhibitions devoted to aspects of Nelson’s life and actively works with scholars, the public and the media to sustain awareness of his achievements and the legacies of these.”