Vernon Museum and Archives are looking for more ways to include the LGBTQ2SIA+ community – Vernon News

One area of ​​underrepresentation within the Vernon Archives is that of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community.

Little or no documentation relating to their lived experiences can be found among the archives’ many stacks of papers and shelves of books. For several months, museum staff wrestled with how to correct this representation gap so that Vernon’s historical archives could better represent the diversity of the city’s population.

It is in this context that the museum reached out to Donna Langille, Community Engagement Librarian at UBC’s Okanagan campus, who hosts a podcast that seeks to address this very lack of LGBTQ2SIA+ records and resources at the within Okanagan cultural heritage institutions.

The Okanagan QueerStory Podcast began as a response to many of the same limitations the museum faces today; When Langille and her research partner, Taysha Jarett, received funding through the 2020 Public Humanities Hub Okanagan Impact Awards, they originally intended to create an exhibit of local LGBTQ2SIA+ artifacts and collectibles to highlight highlight the queer history of the Okanagan. However, they soon faced a lack of representational materials, and even after the items were secured through a public appeal, the COVID-19 pandemic halted the exhibit’s opening.

Langille and Jarett decided to turn to podcasting to continue their project in a pandemic-safe format.

Three episodes have been released so far, each offering an open and honest discussion on topics such as homophobia, isolation, self-esteem, acceptance and unity.

Langille believes it is important to share and preserve the stories of the Queer community in the Okanagan because these stories have historically been, and in many cases continue to be, silenced, censored, ignored or overlooked. Communities benefit when they can see themselves and their identities reflected in public spaces, including cultural heritage institutions like museums and archives.

The Okanagan QueerStory Podcast, a community-led project, is an approach to amplifying queer stories and voices, in hopes that it can contribute to a shared sense of history within the Okanagan queer community. It is the work of individuals like Langille and Jarett that will enable the Vernon Archives and other cultural institutions to better reflect the broader communities they serve.

Gwyn Evans is the Research and Communications Coordinator with the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives.

About Carlos V. Mitchell

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