'Virtual museum' for gay and lesbian history is planned

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The museums documentation association is supporting a project to establish a ‘virtual museum’ dedicated to gay and lesbian history. The MDA museums watchdog is backing the Proud Heritage campaign asking archives and museums across the UK to list the artefacts and documents in their collections relating to homosexuality.

The group Proud Heritage has just sent out a survey this week hoping to compile these records into a national database; its director Jack Gilbert commented: ‘For the first time ever, we are asking museums, libraries and archives throughout Britain to revisit their holdings and reveal what they have that is queer. At the moment these are not classified correctly, or held completely out of context and never see the light of day.’ Exhibits could include Oscar Wilde’s cell doors in Reading jail, currently in the HM Prisons archive, army documents on gay officers and artefacts from the campaign to repeal Section 28. Proud Heritage is hoping to establish a permanent museum, possibly in King’s Cross, London, once the virtual museum is set up. Gay rights and equality groups OutRage! and Stonewall have supported the scheme.

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