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Researching our LGBT collections

The Gang by Catherine Opie

About this collection

This online collection brings fine and decorative artworks from National Museums Liverpool’s three Art Galleries, together with objects from the Museum of Liverpool’s collections to explore LGBT history and culture. 

‘LGBT’ is an acronym that summarises the main groups within the gay and transgender community. Specifically, it includes lesbian women, gay men, bisexual people of both genders and trans people. Trans is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. 

This collection is a work in progress and forms a key element of our Pride and Prejudice research project. 

Liverpool has a long and diverse LGBT history, from gay life at sea and in port to the thriving modern gay quarter around Stanley Street. The Museum of Liverpool’s LGBT collections are drawn from the wider social and community history collections which seek to reflect the stories and experiences of Liverpool people, past and present. LGBT objects include campaign material, flags, oral history interviews, records, leaflets, flyers, t-shirts, badges, posters and paintings, reflecting the diversity of the city and its LGBT communities.

The decorative and fine art collections of the Walker Art Gallery, Lady Lever Art Gallery and Sudley House are amongst the best in Europe. Amid the familiar – and the less well known - objects, which include paintings, sculptures, fashion and ceramics, are works that help to tell often hidden or overlooked LGBT histories and stories. These narratives may emerge through the identity of the artist or the subject matter of a piece, or may be revealed through historic or current interpretations of a subject.

The collections brought together here reflect historic and contemporary LGBT life, experiences and culture. They reveal the contributions of LGBT people in a range of fields, from music to art and design, to social activism and politics, and offer new interpretations of the material in our art galleries and the Museum of Liverpool from an LGBT perspective. 

These objects are the first of many we have identified and researched. Many more will be added as our Pride and Prejudice project develops. 

Did you know?

Liverpool was the first city in the UK to put a rainbow emblem on the street signs in its LGBT quarter.