Excavating LGBTQ+ voices throughout the National Trust
“The National Trust, a conservation organisation responsible for over 300 historic buildings, as well as acres of gardens, countryside and coastline, is exploring how to provide access to, sometimes hidden, LGBTQ+ histories in its places and collections. In 2017, the Trust will deliver a programme of national activity to identify and celebrate this heritage. The programme will build on previous partnerships, research and exhibition projects.
One successful venture was the inaugural ‘Queer Season’ at Sutton House, a Tudor house in Hackney, East London. The centerpiece of which was ‘126’ an exhibition featuring crowd-sourced readings of Shakespeare’s Fair Youth Sonnets by 126 LGBTQ+ volunteers.
In this presentation, we will outline the progress the Trust is making as we move towards 2017. We will open up a discussion about the potential legacy within the organisation in regards to LGBTQ+ histories.”
Rachael Lennon is a Visitor Experience Consultant for the National Trust in London and the South East. She is supporting the National Public Programme which will identify and provide access to some of the LGBTQ+ histories in the National Trust in 2017.
Sean Curran (they/them/their) is a PhD student, National Trust volunteer and curator of ‘126’, they have also been consultant for the London Metropolitan Archives’ Speak Out! exhibition, and co-curator for Twilight People: stories of faith and gender beyond the binary, an oral history and photographic exhibition documenting trans people of faith.
The National Trust
With over 4.5 million members and 62,000 volunteers, the National Trust is one of the world’s largest conservation charities. More than 17 million people visit pay-for-entry historic houses, gardens, ancient monuments and estates and an estimated 50 million visit National Trust’s countryside and coastline annually. The National Trust manages many sites of significance in LGBTQ+ heritage across England and Wales. Some of these stories are well understood and shared with visitors – at houses such as Smallhythe Place or Sissinghurst in Kent – and some remain relatively unknown and unexplored.
Rachael and Sean will be speaking on day 2 of the conference