National Museum to display Panti's Noble Call outfit, Zappone and Gilligan's wedding dresses as part of Pride

They will also display a Pride flag used by activist Conor Kelly to counter protest extreme pro-life groups during the Repeal movement.

Drag queen Panti throws her hands in the air surrounded by rainbow coloured clad people

This year for the first time, the National Museum of Ireland will join in Pride celebrations under the banner of Rainbow Revolution. It will also play host to the Mother Block Party this Saturday June 29.

The National Museum will unveil a series of new artefacts that define some of the most memorable moments in the LGBT+ movement in Ireland in recent years. Amongst those will be the dress Panti wore during her now iconic ‘Noble Call’ speech in the Abbey Theatre in 2014. It jump started a conversation about homophobia in Ireland.

The wedding dresses of Minister Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan will be on display as symbols of the Marriage Referendum. Their ceremony in Dublin Castle took place eight months after Ireland became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote.

As a symbol of LGBT+ Pride, activist Conor Kelly’s rainbow flag which he used to counter protest against extreme pro-life groups demonstrating outside Irish hospitals during the Repeal the 8th Campaign will also be on display.

As well as those artefacts, there will be a Rainbow Revolution Trail where visitors will be given a map of a historical trail throughout the museum focusing on LGBT+ history from early mythology to 17th century warfare, from the LGBT+ men and women of the Irish revolutions to 20th century design icons, and the recent campaigns for equality in Irish law. 

On four screens around Collins Barracks and also on a screen in the National Museum of Ireland’s – Country Life, Turlough Park, there will be video and imagery including the oral histories of some 42 people involved in the LGBT+ rights movement which were captured by RTE film-maker Edmund Lynch in 2013 for his documentary, A Different Country. Amongst the well-known people featured are Nell McCafferty, Lydia Foy, Ailbhe Smyth, Rory O’Neill, Tonie Walsh, Sara R Phillips, Gay Byrne, Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson.

Lynn Scarff, the Director of the National Museum of Ireland, shared, “Our theme for 2019 is ‘Community’ and we are so delighted to be working with the LGBTI+ community on a fantastic range of initiatives for Pride this month. Ireland has come a long way in the last decade in terms of social change and our curators are constantly engaged in contemporary collecting to ensure that we, as Ireland’s National Museum, are appropriately collecting items that will tell this story for generations to come and reflect the ongoing journey for greater equal rights for a number of Irish communities.”

Lynn continued, “Our Pride celebrations this month are only one component of how we plan to capture the enormous change that is underway in the country. We are also commencing an oral history project in which we want to collect and preserve the stories of the LGBT+ communities for future generations and we are very interested in hearing from members of the community who would be willing to participate.”

People are invited to volunteer for interview by emailing [email protected].

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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