National Museum Cardiff launches ‘Queer Tours’

The National Museum, Cardiff. Source: Ham II (via Wikimedia Commons)

By Charlotte King

Earlier this month, the National Museum Cardiff announced its new ‘Queer Tours’ as part of its partnership with Pride Cymru.

In their efforts to continue celebrating LGBTQ+ history outside of February, LGBT+ History Month, the Museum has launched a new series of tours highlighting the Museum’s artwork “through a queer lens”. The Museum classes objects of LGBTQ+ significance as pieces that are created by somebody who is LGBTQ+, the subject of the art is LGBTQ+, or art which focusses on something that forms part of the story of the LGBTQ+ community.

The first tour was held on Sunday, March 15 in the National Museum Cardiff, and the Museum reported that the first day of tours proved extremely popular.

The Museum intends to host a ‘Queer Tour’ each month, examining different pieces of art from a wide array of collections housed in the Museum. Dan Vo, a freelance museum curator, is the mastermind behind the new initiative and has already organised similar tours in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the University of Cambridge Museums.

Speaking about the tours, Vo said: “I am really excited to be organising these volunteer-led tours in Cardiff. National Museum Cardiff is well-established for its world-famous art collection and has given me an opportunity to share LGBTQ+ stories, which are often underrepresented, on this tour.

“It’s a chance to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and acknowledge the existence and contribution of LGBTQ+ individuals throughout history.”

Commenting on the initiative, Owain Rhys, Head of Volunteering and Engagement at National Museum Cardiff, also said: “I’m delighted that through partnering with Pride Cymru and Dan Vo we can open the doors to interpreting the art collections in a new and exciting way, showing that the national collections belong to us all.”

As previously mentioned, the National Museum Cardiff’s new ‘queer tours’ are being held in partnership with Pride Cymru, a charity working to eliminate discrimination in Wales “on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or ability.”

Aside from organising Pride Cymru’s Big Weekend in Cardiff city centre every year, the charity also works to support and integrate the LGBTQ+ community throughout Wales all year round through projects such as these.

Gian Molinu, Chair of Pride Cymru, also expressed that the charity is “incredibly excited” about the upcoming ‘Queer Tours’ and the positive representation they provide for the LGBTQ+ community.

“This is a unique opportunity to learn more about our Welsh LGBT+ history and to be educated with stories of historical artefacts and objects in the Museum that until now have either been untold or actively suppressed…instead of being hidden away in history, those stories are now being told so that we can connect more with our past.

“I feel that this is another step closer towards a society that is truly inclusive and that celebrates diversity”, Molinu continued.

The tours are to be held in both Welsh and English. However, the National Museum Cardiff is currently closed, following the Government’s advice regarding the Covid-19 outbreak, but the Museum stresses that they intend to host these tours once a month once the Museum opens to the public again. There is currently no set date for the next tour.

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