Bringing LGBTQ History to Life with Big Gay Met

Museum Hack - Renegade Tours

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Our renegade museum tours focus on bringing the hidden stories and juicy secrets of museum collections to life.  This year, we set out to make our tours even more fabulous by bringing a new part of the museum to life: the gay side.

Our Big Gay Met tours are a whirlwind romp through the greatest stories of LGBTQ art history available at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  We take guests on a journey to discover 6,000 years of queer history that’s been hiding in plain sight.  Along the way, we help audiences reconsider historical and modern points of view of this eclectically fabulous community while celebrating the crazy backstories of the best gay artists in the Met.  Our guests uncover drag queens and lesbian love, pick up 18th century courting tips, and find out why horses are important to queer representation.

Guests pose in front of a rainbow wall during our Big Gay Met tour.

Recently, we hosted Kathleen Wiens, Exhibition Developer with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, during our Big Gay Met tour.  As a museum dedicated to fostering civil discourse and diversity, her point of view was incredibly important to us.  After her tour, she sent us this great email:

“I don’t know who receives Hack user feedback, but I wanted to send a Thanks and Well Done to you, Zack and the team of Hackers who helped facilitate my tour last Saturday.

I especially want to thank you for making the special arrangement for me, despite the regular tour being cancelled. As it happened, I wasn’t able to locate the corporate tour I was supposed to join last Saturday (my fault – I was late getting into the building). However, I roamed the museum for only a few minutes before I saw a group of people with “Hack” ID and I approached their guide, Zack, and introduced myself and explained my situation. It turned out that he was leading the Big Gay tour (I think I had been scheduled to join “Un-Highlights”?), but Zack totally rolled with it, and I joined up. I appreciated his flexibility and his ability to “trouble shoot” in the moment. It seemed to turn out for the best that I joined the Big Gay tour, for many reasons. Zack was leading a tour from a NY Pride organization, one of their members had previously visited our museum. Diversity in sexual orientation is an important part of our museum’s content, but one that I personally am new to and have struggled to find the “voice” for that content. Zack used humour, beauty, and juicy facts to point towards very profound points; this approach was eye-opening for me. I learned a lot about representation from observing Zack and watching the behaviour and level of engagement of the other tour users. Three days later, I’m still processing the “how’s” and “why’s” of the experience, and I’ve jotted down oodles of notes. Zack is awesome. Hack is awesome.

THANKS TIFFANY and Zack! I’m so glad you were both able to be so flexible and make it happen for me!”

We are super happy to have been able to accommodate Kathleen and show her a side of the Met that was personally and professionally relevant to her.  Her feedback demonstrated that our Big Gay Met tours are just what is needed to showcase the fabulous, diverse history of art – and people – that’s been hidden in plain sight.

Want to foster more diverse viewpoints in your museum?  Curious how appealing to new audiences can increase your institutional relevance and foster new sources of revenue?  Contact us to discuss how we can help bring the hidden stories and fabulous history of your collections to life.

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