Desire, love, identity
exploring LGBTQ histories

Follow a free trail in the galleries 

Find out more in this online exhibit 


British and American badges from the 1970s onwards. Plastic, paper and metal.

This 2017 display offered glimpses into LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer) histories, experiences and lives by examining objects from around the world, covering ancient civilisations right up to today. The display was programmed to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Sexual Offences Act, a law that partially decriminalised homosexuality in England and Wales.

A trail featuring objects in the permanent galleries that relate to LGBTQ histories has been updated and revised. You can download audio content and a map to help you find the objects in the Museum.

We have developed a touring version of Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories. This exhibition will visit four venues: the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (25 September – 2 December 2018); the National Justice Museum, Nottingham (14 December 2018 – 3 March 2019); Bolton Library & Museum Service (14 March – 26 May 2019); and lastly, the Norwich Millennium Library (8 June – 31 August 2019)

The Museum has longstanding relationships with LGBTQ organisations, and the expertise and experience of individuals within these groups helped shape the content of this display. The show was part of a season looking at LGBTQ histories which included a display of David Hockney’s etchings based on Cavafy’s poems in Room 90a.