• CLOSED
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
National Army Museum
  • CLOSED
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

Call for donations: Army LGBT+ Community

Why are we collecting?

The National Army Museum is collaborating with the Army LGBT+ Forum to collect objects, photographs, archives, and art that reflect the experiences of LGBT+ soldiers. In the past, many of the stories, experiences, and achievements of these soldiers have been lost and their histories hidden.

At the National Army Museum, we seek to represent ‘Our Army' in its entirety. We want to add to our collection of objects relating to the LGBT+ community so that their contribution to the Army is not forgotten.

It is particularly important to capture the stories of LGBT+ soldiers today because many people’s experiences have been shaped by the ban on homosexuality and/or its lifting in 2000. The ruling in 2014 that enabled transgender personnel to serve openly in the British Army was also an important moment for many people.

The experience of LGBT+ soldiering

Both the National Army Museum and the Army LGBT+ Forum are keen that this collecting project recognises the community first and foremost as soldiers. This means that we want to collect both:

  • objects that relate to LGBT+ soldiers’ general experience of being soldiers, serving within the British Army, and their individual achievements, e.g. medals awarded for service, material relating to life on campaign, uniform items, experience of warfare, etc.
  • objects that relate to LGBT+ soldiers’ experience of being part of the LGBT+ community while serving, including items relating to the Army’s attitudes to the LGBT+ community over time, etc.

We recognise that LGBT+ soldiers are a lot more than their sexuality and gender identity, and we are keen to collect objects that relate to their entire experience as soldiers, not just as LGBT+ soldiers.

What are we collecting?

Archives, Photographs, Film and Sound

  • Archival and photographic material relating to Army service in general, e.g. recording life on campaign, life in barracks, experiences of serving, etc.
  • Archival and photographic material relating to the campaign to remove the ban on LGBT soldiers, e.g. campaigning material, diaries, letters, photographs of meetings, etc.
  • Material relating to the lifting of the ban, e.g. photographs of celebrations, etc.
  • Material relating to significant Army LGBT+ events, e.g. Army at London at Pride.
  • Photographs of LGBT+ soldiers in uniform with partners (we have heterosexual relationships and their significance for service personnel documented extensively in our collection).

We will also be interested in recording interviews with serving soldiers and veterans about their experiences in the Army. If you would like to register interest for this, please email kparsons@nam.ac.uk

Fine and Decorative Arts

  • ‘Soldier art’, i.e. drawings, paintings, or fibre arts relating to experiences of soldiering made while on campaign/during Army service, e.g. sketches of barracks, sketches of battlefields, paintings of everyday life on campaign.
  • Retrospective artworks relating to the experience of Army service
  • Artworks relating to being an LGBT+ soldier
  • Decorative items used to decorate accommodation on campaign
  • Flags or banners associated with the Army’s participation in LGBT+ pride events

Uniforms, Medals, Badges

  • Medal collections of LGBT+ soldiers
  • Badges associated with LGBT+ soldiers service (particularly when there is other accompanying material)
  • Uniform items

Weapons, Equipment and Vehicles

  • Equipment used during service
  • Mementos acquired during service, e.g. from battlefields

How to donate

Please do not send donations directly to the Museum.

If you would like to donate an object or collection to the National Army Museum, please fill out our donations enquiry form and note that your donation is associated with the LGBT+ Contemporary Collecting project.

Donation offers will be considered by a curator. If deemed suitable for our collection, they will then be considered by the Collections Development Group. If your donation offer is accepted, our Registrar will liaise with you regarding the transfer of the collection.

If you would like further information on the donations process in relation to this project, please email hwinter@nam.ac.uk

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