Bolton Library and Museum Services

Desire, love. identity - exploring LGBTQ histories in Bolton

Friday 15 March to Sunday 26 May 

Same-sex love, desire and gender diversity are an integral part of human experience. The way they have been expressed culturally has varied widely globally and over time.

Based upon Professor Richard Parkinson’s award-winning book, ‘A Little Gay History,’ this exhibition offers glimpses into the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning) experience through the British Museum’s collection.

This exhibition also showcases Bolton’s LGBTQ history, personal stories and is the only Northern venue to host this touring collection from the  British Museum.

Join us at the following events to celebrate this exhibition:

OUTing the Past Festival in Bolton

Sat 16 March, 10.30am to 5pm

Join us to hear a number of guest speakers exploring a  variety of LGBT+ themes. Book your free place on Eventbrite.

The Adhesion of Love by Stephen M Hornby

Thurs 21 Mar, 7pm

The extraordinary true story of how an architect’s assistant from    Bolton crossed the Atlantic in 1891 to meet the visionary queer poet Walt Whitman. Book via TicketSource (£8 adults/£5 concessions).  

Talk by Professor Richard Bruce Parkinson author of ‘A Little Gay History,’

Mon 18 March, 6.30pm

As we celebrate the opening of ‘Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories in Bolton’ we are  delighted to welcome Professor Richard Bruce Parkinson, author of ‘A Little Gay History’. The objects in this book are from the British Museum and many feature in the exhibition.

‘How beautiful are thy buttocks!’: ‘Same-sex desire in Ancient Egypt,’ talk by Dr Roland Enmarch

Thurs 4 Apr, 7pm

Dr Enmarch will talk about the realms of Egyptian mythology and Egyptian societal ideologies.  

Poetry evening

Thurs 11 Apr, 6.30pm to 8.30pm

Special guests Dominic Berry and Rosie Garland will read some of their LGBTQ poetry. Book via Eventbrite.

Museum Monologues

Sat 11 May, 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm

Mon 13 May, 3pm

Thurs 16 May, 3pm, 5pm and 6pm

Fri 17 May, 12pm and 3pm

Sat 18 and 25 May, 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm

Actors will bring to life influential LGBTQ people and supporters from the past and present.

Matt Cain in conversation with James Edgington

Thurs 16 May, 7pm

Find out more about Matt’s coming of age, feel good book,  ‘The Madonna of Bolton,’ which was published last summer.

Magic and Sparkle Day

Sat 18 May, 11am to 4pm

Celebrate International Day Against Homophobia at Bolton Museum. Try your voice in a choir workshop. Get creative making badges and placards and chat with our Art Therapist. There will be Drag King storytelling sessions and lots of brilliant craft activities to take part in too.