Elements of the Project
The project comprises three related elements:
In November 2004 the Museum commissioned two essays to initiate the project. Both consider how museum collections can illustrate, explore and help to understand the dynamics of cultural diversity in London’s history. 'Our Lives, Our Histories, Our Collections' is by Baroness Lola Young, former Head of Culture at the Greater London Authority (GLA).
The essay explores the meaning of cultural diversity in the context of museums and their role as agents of change in taking forward recommendations contained in reports on museums and cultural diversity.
The second essay is 'Unearthing our Past: Engaging With Diversity at the Museum of London' by Dr. Raminder Kaur. It focuses specifically on collections and displays at the Museum of London.
In February 2005 work began on surveying the collections held by the Museum to identify objects which would contribute to an understanding of cultural diversity. Much research had already been done for past exhibitions such as ‘The Quiet Conquest: The Huguenots 1685-1985’, ‘The Peopling of London’ (1993) and ‘Pride & Prejudice’ (1999).
Searches were also carried out using the Museum’s database and documentation including contextual information such as details of donors. Information generated from this survey was then entered onto the Museum’s database, Multi Mimsy, in the form of texts about communities and captions about objects. This information is extracted from the Museum’s database to appear on this site.
The site currently includes over 800 objects related to 42 ethnic and religious groups, as well as to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community and the disabled community. Texts on each group explain how and why they came to live in London, as well as their experiences of and contributions to the city. Images of objects are captioned to explain how they fit into this history.
LGBT Mapping Project
In May 2005 the Museum commissioned a consultant to carry out a mapping project into information resources and objects relating to the LGBT community in London, resulting in a report. The display 'Queer is Here' showcased a mixture of objects from the Museum's collection and loaned items to mark LGBT History month in February 2006. October 2005 saw the first meeting of an LGBT advisory panel to inform Museum policies on collecting and programming.