Molly Spoon Archive: exploring LGBTQ histories
Museums; are they like Marmite? Do you love them or hate them? Share Academy – funded by Arts Council England – loves museums! Share Academy is supporting museums and universities collaboration to create new, exciting and fun projects for everyone. One such project is the Molly Spoon Archive – focusing on the hidden histories of LGBTQ people and communities.
Re-telling the histories of LGBTQ communities and individuals is quite a difficult task. In the past it was illegal to be homosexual. In fact, in England and Wales, from 1533 – 1861 sodomy was a crime punishable by hanging. This means stories of LGBTQ communities were and have been hidden from public view, with most of the information available coming from court transcripts of trials.
To explore the hidden histories of LGBTQ people and communities, Bruce Castle Museum is hosting a temporary exhibition – the Molly Spoon Archive. It’s also discovering its own hidden history. One of Bruce Castle’s previous residents, Marmaduke Hart, Butler to Lord Coleraine, was convicted of Sodomy in 1730. The exhibition brings together the history of LGBTQ lives right up to date with the first gay weddings on 29 March 2014 and a Molly Spoon from celebrated LGBTQ artist Sadie Lee. The public is also being asked to contribute by creating Molly Spoons and adding their own story, to ensure LGBTQ communities are not written out of history.
So, what is a Molly Spoon?
Molly Houses were the first ‘gay pubs’ in Renaissance London where gay men could socialise in relative safety. Molly Spoons were wooden dolls used in ‘mock birth’ ceremonies in Molly Houses. They symbolised the ‘coming out’ as a new character. Molly Spoons reflect the life and tell the story of an extraordinary person. Now the public are invited to make a Molly Spoon, to tell their story and provide an insight about contemporary Queer lives and experiences. On 28 May 2014 with Ms Timberlina at the helm, and Prof. Ian D. Closet and Ida Barr by her side, the Molly Spoon Archive was launched. Lots of families on half term joined in the fun making Molly Spoons and learning about the hidden history of Bruce Castle Museum (with a little hip-hop hokie-cokie from entertainer Ida Barr).
If you’d like to join in the fun and create a Molly Spoon it’s not too late. The Molly Spoon Archive exhibition is free and runs until the end of September. The free Molly Spoon Make‘n’do workshops with Ms Timberlina and Prof Ian D. Closet are at Bruce Castle Museum on 15 June, 27 July (with special guest appearance from eccentric songstress Lorraine Bowen) and 27 August (with another special guest appearance from Ida Barr). Come along from 2-4 pm to share in the fun – all welcome!
What: Molly Spoon Archive exhibition
When: Till end of September
Where: Bruce Castle Museum, Lordship Ln, London N17 8NU
You may also want to check the Top Exhibitions in London this Summer.