The short story
The work started in 2008 and the organisation was officially created in 2011.
The Unstraight Museum is tasked with empowering the LGBTQ+ community by collecting stories from a non-normative perspective. Unstraight makes them accessible digitally and physically through exhibitions and other public expressions, internationally.
The Unstraight Museum in a Swedish non-government, non-profit, volunteer-run LGBTQ+ organisation working with culture as a mean of change, globally. This work is done through collaborations with LGBTQ+ NGO’s around the world.
We mainly work with the digital collection but the long term goal is to create a physical museum with a base in Sweden.
Up until 2019, The Unstraight Museum has worked in 14 countries, created more than 25 exhibitions and spawned several local initiatives continuing the work in the spirit of the museum.
-The Unstraight Museum will never pass judgement on what stories are important - and not to save for the future.
-The Unstraight Museum will never identify or classify a story or a person as anything within the LGBTQ+ spectrum but what the person or the story itself states.
-The Unstraight Museum always works within the local context of where the projects are realised, under the guidance of -and in close collaboration with the local partner organisation.
-The Unstraight Museum is publicly funded and does not have any political, religious or other affiliations.
The long story
The story began in 2008 when Europride was about to happen in Stockholm for the second time in its history.
A group of museum professionals were fed up with publicly funded Swedish museum institutions claiming that LGBTQ+ history was a priority- whilst overlooking the opportunities to collect and present stories from the community.
We presented an initiative to create an exhibition where major Swedish museum institutions should look into their collections and try to find stories from an Unstraight perspective- to later present them in a collective exhibition.
The project was realised at Europride 2008 and named ”Article 1” with reference to The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article no 1.
”All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
After the closing of ”Article 1” in Stockholm an opportunity presented itself to show the exhibition in Belgrade, Serbia and Riga, Latvia. This was the beginning of many years of touring passing thru Eastern Europe and the Balkan region- working in a network of local NGO’s and creating local exhibitions with content from the local communities.
The exhibition was awarded the Swedish Museums honorary award in 2013.
During and after the ´”Article 1” exhibition, many related projects have been initiated. Projects spanning from research projects within museums to art projects and seminars related to the importance of individuals’ rights to tell their own story.
Summaries of some of the projects can be seen here under ”projects”.
Up until 2019 The Unstraight Museum has worked in Sweden, Latvia, Russia, Serbia, FYR Macedonia (Republic of North Macedonia), Kosovo, Bosnia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Albania, Georgia, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia.
The importance of physical exhibitions can not be ignored. Our experience is that creating object-oriented exhibitions to manifest the existence of people as well as creating places to meet and empower each other is of the greatest importance.
This will always be a vital part of the work of The Unstraight Museum.
Since the very beginning, The Unstraight Museum has been a digital platform where anyone can contribute with their story without censorship or judgement. This work, combined with the stories collected thru physical exhibitions, has resulted in a digital collection of more than 500 stories from all around the world.
The collection is at this moment being structured so that it can be presented in its totality.
Please be patient.
The Unstraight House
A long term goal has always been to create a physical Unstraight House in Sweden.
The house will never be a Swedish LGBTQ+ heritage museum but rather an international hub strengthening the bonds between persons and NGO’s. In the spirit of The Unstraight Museums previous projects, the house will facilitate working with culture as a mean of change.
Negotiations are ongoing and we hope to be able to release news of the progress soon.
The Unstraight Museum is a member of ICOM (International Council of Museums) and is therefore an internationally and officially recognised museum institution.