LGBTQ+ Inclusive Interpretation Resource Kit

As museums and cultural organizations strive to be representative of all voices, more and more are uncovering LGBTQ+ stories connected to their institutions, while others are searching for those stories to incorporate into their narratives, engaging with LGBTQ+ history and inclusion, or looking for where to start. Regardless of where these institutions are in the process of interpreting LGBTQ+ stories, many find navigating LGBTQ+ interpretation challenging because of the nuances of LGBTQ+ history and the personal nature of gender and sexuality. This LGBTQ+ Inclusive Interpretation Resource Kit is meant to help overcome the challenges of, provide an introduction to, and serve as a basic guide for LGBTQ+ interpretation. The kit includes AASLH conference sessions, webinars, books, and technical leaflets on LGBTQ+ interpretation and inclusive interpretation more broadly, as well as award winners whose projects show LGBTQ+ interpretation in practice. Also in this kit are guides, readings, and webinars from other organizations and a list of museums dedicated to or doing LGBTQ+ interpretation, from the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco to the Alice Austen House in Staten Island.

A full annotated guide to these resources, including details and summaries, can be found here.

Inclusive Interpretation Basics

Past Conference Sessions


Ferentinos, Susan. Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014.

Ferentinos, Susan. “Where the Magic Happened: Historic Homes as Sites of Intimacy.” In Reimagining Historic House Museums: New Approaches and Proven Solutions, edited by Kenneth C.Turino and Max A. Van Balgooy, 183–195. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019.


Leadership in History Award Winners


Publication Award, honorable mention: We Will Always Be Here: A Guide to Exploring and Understanding the History of LGBTQ+ Activism in Wisconsin by Jenny Kalvaitis and Kristen Whitson, Wisconsin Historical Society Press

Award of Excellence: Washington State Historical Society for the exhibition Crossing Boundaries: Portraits of a Transgender West, 1860-1940


Award of Excellence: Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association (Washington) and Frisky Divinity Productions for the exhibition In and Out: Being LGBTQ on Vashon Island


Albert B. Corey Award: Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center for the project Inside Out: Memories from Inside the Closet

Outside Resources


American Alliance of Museums - “LGBTQ Welcoming Guidelines for Museums”

Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) - GLAAD Media Reference Guide, 11th Edition

Margaret Middleton, “The Queer-Inclusive Museum,” Exhibition (Fall 2017), 79–84.


Massachusetts Historical Society, "Hidden in Plain Sight: Remembering Queer Nightlife" (2022)

New England Museum Association, "Reopening the Archives: Telling Queer Stories" (2021)

New England Museum Association, "LGBTQ+ Museum Stories Make Us Happy Hour" (May 2021) 

American Alliance of Museums, "Telling Trans Stories Through Collections and Exhibitions" (2020)

MuseumNext, "How Museums Can Expand Narratives With LGBTQ Interpretation" (2015)


Bennett, Danielle. “Lessons from Glen Burnie: Queering a Historic House Museum.” Journal of Museum Education 45, no. 4 (2020): 414–425.

Levin, Amy K., ed. Gender, Sexuality, and Museums: A Routledge Reader. New York: Routledge, 2010.

Middleton, Margaret. “Queer Possibility.” Journal of Museum Education 45, no. 4 (2020): 426–436.

LGBTQ+ Interpretation in Action

Museums Dedicated to LGBTQ+ History

1. GLBT Historical Society, San Francisco, CA
2. Lesbian Herstory Archives, Brooklyn, NY
3. The American LGBTQ+ Museum, beginning at the New-York Historical Society in New York, NY
4. ONE Archives Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
5. The Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art

Case Studies: Museums & Organizations Doing LGBTQ+ Interpretation

1. The Alice Austen House: Staten Island, NY
Selected exhibitions that tell LGBTQ+ stories:
A. Stonewall at 50
B. Radical Tenderness: Trans for Trans Portraiture
C. New Eyes on Alice Austen
D. Kelli Connell: Double Life, 20 Years
E. Powerful and Dangerous: The Words and Images of Audre Lorde

2. National Park Service LGBTQ Heritage Initiative
Learn about the Initiatives:
A. Publication: LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History
B. Telling All Americans’ Stories: LGBTQ+ Heritage
C. Article: Springate, Megan E. “The National Park Service LGBTQ Heritage Initiative: One Year Out.” The George Wright Forum 34, no. 3 (2017): 394–404.
D. Series - “Finding Our Place: LGBTQ Heritage in the United States”
E. Administrative History: LGBTQ Heritage Initiative

3. LGBTQ+ History in Wisconsin, Wisconsin Historical Society
Page includes links to learn about:
A. We Will Always Be Here: Wisconsin’s LGBTQ+ Historymakers
B. Wisconsin’s Gay History Book Series
C. Queer Art Gallery
D. LGBTQ+ History essays
E. LGBTQ+ images of and items from WHS’s historical collections

4. The History Project: Boston, MA