LGTBQ history on display at B.C. Museum

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Pride Happy Hour celebrates history and experience of B.C.’s LGBTQ community

To celebrate Victoria’s Pride Month, the Royal B.C. Museum (RBCM) will be hosting its first ever Pride Happy Hour event on July 20 at 5:15 p.m.

The event is one of the many Happy Hours the RBCM has hosted in the evenings after the regular museum hours. At the Happy Hour, patrons can drink, eat light fare, and learn about special topics the museum is featuring for that month.

This Happy Hour night takes place in the modern history exhibit (known as the Becoming B.C. Gallery) upstairs in the museum — an area that visitors may commonly know as “Old Town” and “the Farm.”

In conjunction with the RBCM’s “Family: Bonds and Belonging” exhibit, community presenters will speak on what their identity and sexuality means to their community and to their definition of family. There will also be open-mic times for other participants to share their own experience and perspective on the past and current state of Pride culture in Victoria.

Illustration by Abi Paeth, Graphics Contributor

Illustration by Abi Paeth, Graphics Contributor

Community Learning planner Kim Gough hopes that community members use the opportunity to network and feel connected with history in ways they haven’t before.

“When I visit galleries and museums myself, I don’t often see myself represented,” says Gough, “and so I hope that this is an opportunity for other people like myself to feel like this is a welcome and a safe place and a place where their stories and voices are also heard.”

In the Century Hall, which displays traditional dress through the decades, Gough hopes to add LGBTQ stories to the visual timeline of history. Visitors will have opportunities to write and record stories of their own histories in the pride community to add to the exhibition, or to “hack it” as Gough puts it.

One artifact to look out for is the “Gay Guide,” written in the late ‘60s by a gay man who wanted to share the knowledge of the LGBTQ community with other British Columbians.

Upon moving to B.C, the man found himself having to go under the wings of others to discover locations where he would be welcomed. After becoming more established in the local scene, the man decided to make an annual guide book that pointed out locations and places for those in the Pride community to feel comfortable and network. At the Happy Hour event, visitors will be able to add their own addition to the guide book and update the list of places to go in 2017.

To spice up the night, the event will also include a Silent Disco, because, as Gough says, you “can’t have pride without a little party.”

Patrons can bring their own music devices and headphones and jam out on the dance floor with friends and community members in their own music world while the room stays completely silent.

Though this event is only for one night, Gough hopes that the input from the community can create a larger dialogue about the inclusion of LGBTQ voices and stories through history.

The Becoming B.C. exhibition is currently in the works of being rescripted after more formal and informal community consultations. Gough sees this event as one of the latter — an informal consultation where some of the stories shared at the Happy Hour can be included in the rescripting as well.

“We can have something spark out of this event that grows into something more,” says Gough.

Gough hopes that the event, like all the Happy Hours, can be a fun and casual evening to mingle and connect with history and the community.

“Even if you haven’t been here, or you’re coming on your own, there should be an opportunity for you to engage [with the community].”

Tickets to the event, which takes place on July 20, cost $10. For more information about tickets and the event check out the RBCM website.

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