Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) historical interpretation is an increasingly common feature of museums and historic sites, while at the same time one that often pushes beyond the physical boundaries of historical organizations. This article considers various interpretive methods as tools for delivering LGBTQ history and offers multiple examples of each type of interpretation. Methods discussed include exhibits (both temporary and permanent); special events; arts programming; youth programming; monuments and memorials; historical engagement with the built environment; and digital history projects. The author acknowledges that, in 2019, these efforts still tend to favor the experiences of white cisgender men and to focus on the realm of political activism and offers some suggestions for how LGBTQ interpretation might develop in coming years.
Ways of Interpreting Queer Pasts
Susan Ferentinos, PhD, is a public history researcher, writer, and consultant specializing in the history of gender, sexuality, and LGBTQ identities. She has served on over a hundred historical projects with the National Park Service and is the author of Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman & Littlefield), which won the 2016 Book Award from the National Council on Public History.
Susan Ferentinos; Ways of Interpreting Queer Pasts. The Public Historian 1 May 2019; 41 (2): 19–43. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2019.41.2.19
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