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Oscar Wilde and the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality

Galleries of Justice Museum
High Pavement
The Lace Market
Nottingham
NG1 1HN

Tel: +44(0)115 9939822

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Oscar Wilde and the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality

Thursday 2 – Sunday 19 February 2017

Members of Nottingham’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) community have been involved in creating a brand new exhibition at the Galleries of Justice Museum, which will feature playwright Oscar Wilde’s original cell door.

Celebrating LGBT History Month and also linking to the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the 120th anniversary since Oscar Wilde was released from Reading Prison, the door will be on display at the museum from 2nd – 19th February.

The Galleries of Justice Museum’s Senior Curator and Archivist, Bev Baker has been working with a group of ten people to develop interpretations for the new exhibition, Oscar Wilde and the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality. The exhibition will include a timeline which explores the various legal developments that have led to greater equality for members of the LGBT community. It will also include audio interpretations detailing the experiences of local people who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or trans. In addition, the exhibition will celebrate the many individuals from our cultural heritage who form part of the wider, international LGBT community. There will be an opportunity for visitors to leave comments about their own experiences.

Born October 1854, Oscar Wilde was a playwright, novelist, critic and poet. His famous works include The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), An Ideal Husband (1895) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). He was also one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Wilde was imprisoned at Reading Gaol between 1895 and 1897 under the charge of gross indecency.  After his release from prison he spent the rest of his life in Europe, publishing The Ballard of Reading Gaol in 1898. He died in Paris in November 1900.

The cell door which features in the exhibition forms part of the Galleries of Justice Museum’s collection, which is UK’s largest collection relating to law, justice, crime and punishment.. The door returns to the museum following its appearance in a major exhibition at Reading Prison in 2016. After its display at the Galleries of Justice Museum in February, the door is being loaned to Tate Britain where it will feature in their new exhibition, Queer British Art 1861 – 1967, which runs from 5 April – 1 October 2017.

The exhibition will run at the Galleries of Justice Museum from 2 – 19 February. It will be the last exhibition at the museum before capital work begins, as part of a £1million Heritage Lottery Fund supported project. The museum will then relaunch as the National Justice Museum in Spring 2017 and will include an array of new exhibition areas and interactive activities for all to enjoy.

This exhibition is available to view within the general tour / admission price for the museum £9.95 for adults (Concessions available).

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