Charlotte Museum

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A group of us started a talking about having some open archives to try and send things to the Wellington archives, I'd been involved in Wellington archives. And then in 2003, we didn't get very far. And then 2003 was the outlines conference. And I took the group there, with all the T shirts and together and the badge collection down thinking that'd be wonderful, and the lesbian and gay archives and Wellington, but I know, the National Library clicks paper, I know, I didn't realize that liberal paper focus. And it's also quite hard to get access to the things so that I'd have a permanent display or anything. So I sort of came back to Oakland like them back and thought, what about all those things like open the cabinet, the, they would all just disappear. Some people might keep them on hand them on to relatives, and so on. And they think, oh, that's quiet or whatever. But they really wouldn't understand that the least pianism of things. And I thought it will vanish. So I talked to the group, the archives sort of group, which changed a bit. And we came up, well, let's have a museum, let's be museum. And then we'll what Sumit other museums, surely the some lesbian stuff and New Zealand museums. So that's what the internet's good for, we punch to them. And we got four things. We got a picture of two women in a picture of them in Siberia, to English women in Siberia, that will obviously lesbian, but they had visited New Zealand, and it was the New Zealand component of the city edge years. And they were three cartoons of Helen Clark. And I thought if there is a history of lesbians in New Zealand, and all we have achieved more than a century, then it's really sad. So that was an impetus. I mean, I saw angry, that was an impetus to give me a lot of imagery. So when was it? That was 2003 2004. So I said about investigating, sitting up a trust and those sort of things. And by 2007, we had our first exhibition at the D thing at market trust, and waited for our trusty reader in 2006 to get registered, and, and that was the thing in itself, because I rang up to see how to progress. And he said arts and legal. And I said, Well, it shouldn't be a problem and legal at a standard trust deed, form. Factor, half Mallory, that's, we all we've done is put our names on it. We haven't changed almost anything else to put our name through. And then I said, but we're used to discrimination. It'll be sitting on someone who can't cope. Steve SC sees it all already back. And by three o'clock in the afternoon, he rang me back and said, It's past. That little magic word are we used to discrimination seems to actually pay off sometimes. So we see it about finding premises, finding money and saving it up. Has it? Was it a real mission? Has it been a real mission? Or has it been a lot of support? There's been some support from people in the community, some very good support. And a couple of women put in about 14,000 the first year Wow. And, and then another six 7000. I think that was last year. So each year, they've been some backers, who've put in, you know, several thousand other other people put on, you know, several hundred pay. But But, but if everyone in the community paid, as I say, a latte a month, like less than $5 a month, that to be a friend of the museum, that would make a big difference. In fact, we're just trying to do an outreach now for that. So there's heaps of really fantastic visual stuff here. Which I guess some of it would be paper. But yeah, just like you said before, there's the quote with a whole lot of T shirts is too. We've got two of them. So we alternate them because they start to sag AFTRA. So we have we have another one that we bring out every six months and it hits a posters and old photographs, big photographs, little photographs. Yeah, just a whole whole paper. How did you come about all this? Did you put a big call out or was it also in your basement? It was around my house. My house was renowned for having messes of women's images of things and some of the things I acquired, for instance, that lovely glass jar of ours by done by Karen hope the one that's sort of quite chunky one. Is this the one about the grandmother wanting to be adopted, but married one and Steve, the other one so it's a more feminist one but this one is very essential than that Pio one. I saw that in the Waikato museum for sale and I couldn't be the thought of a main buyer. So I just had to buy it. And now we have had a very generous donor who's brought replicas of museum items from Crete about the ancients. So there's things with leg presses on that beautiful silver EEG cap. There's pieces of ceramic there's snake God is the snake goddess the that's one she donated the other snake bodies are brought back from Crete. This is ceramic they have to punk girls kissing that was made by lesbian psychologist and why Kato so this each one has a little story about us the some lovely pieces of Raku ceramics by Pyro corneal. And she also did the weaving of the kids Hey, up there. Those are pieces that often museum quiet like the look of and would like that to put their hand and get their hands on them. But I mean that again, they wouldn't label them as lesbian made or anything that would just disappear into an exhibition of rock who work not, not what we're about, really, the lovely carving of the two women. And I haven't got that story years because I can never get anybody at home with a telephone number. I was given to that piece. So it takes a while to get the stories for things. And then there's the carving of Chrissy pool that was always in my house. And I always felt my house is very safe with that. Not all I really need to donate it to the museum. But it's on loan because that piece needs to be handled in a particular way when we put it up and take it down. So I kept it as a online Empire those pieces of the only pieces just because I want to make sure that they are very secure and handled in the appropriate way from our artifacts. So everything else has been donated lots of T shirts, some fabulous ones, with great slogans on some very historical things like the early Gay Pride from 1980, I think it was of 79 assists a soccer t shirt. There's, of course, there's some labor says the labor says the gold ones. Some of them were used for suicide cheerleaders, they used to run around and tutus and gum boots and wave leverage on your lovely This means, you know, great cheerleading. Say it was a soccer team. There was also a success of 14 but we don't have any of the uniforms here. We've got various coming out stories on DVD that we put on for people to listen to. And I'm busy trying to get some more money. So we can have a smaller screen. So people can just put headphones on and do them individually when they come in. And that's what I'm working on now. And I want to use clips of films, so they wouldn't be selling longest three or four minutes. I saw it in Brisbane at an exhibition of the year. And I thought that's what we need. What's been some of the when you said that you were sitting, sitting up with the Charlotte museum trust, or some of the responses, I guess, of lesbians in particular, whoo. mostly positive. One or two people found it difficult. They didn't want to be in a museum. And they didn't want the function is really museum or they didn't like the idea of realism in a museum. So, you know, props, props word out and proud. As much as some of the rest of us a little bit of pride, you mean kind of worried about tuning into a spectacle or just uncomfortable that I'm not sure what we put in. So that seems to be was a bit of a problem. Like to pack or when I heard about it came up to my house to see what we had. They were a bit suspicious. But then also, of course, then saw some of the things that I had in my house, and they were keen on them for their museums. And that's one of the problems that museums always eyeing other things and other people's museums, because I think that they've got a goddess and Orca museum that I think that we should. trade is. So the general feedback, we've just done a feedback survey, and we did it online and sent PDFs around the country to our mailing list. And we also gave them out the big guy out, and we've got sort of 50 or so you know, you never get a really great response from the things that that we asked how important was the lesbian museum and almost everybody to almost everybody, even even the black? I think we've got one guy who responded who has visited the museum. So, basically, and there's an awful lot of lesbians and I think that sort of, you know, just the tip of the iceberg who think that this is a really important place. Can you talk a little bit about I guess, the importance of a museum, historically wise, and I guess, and I guess, lesbian history, intergenerational II as well. Well, for me, I, I knew I was homosexual, by the time was 14, because it was when I looked it up in the encyclopedia, and it said homosexuals had arrested development. So I thought they were all short and sweet is looking for short people. And then, of course, realized I'd grown so tall that I was afraid I was the only tour homosexual in the world. So you weren't an encyclopedia. Know. And sadly, I mean, I was training as a singer. And sadly, I swallowed poison and below my throat so that, that I never want that to happen to anybody else to be so feel so bad about themselves. And I didn't have any mentors. Sure, there was a short teacher at school who lived with with a told teacher. But I mean, I didn't really because I wasn't a whole system at that stage. When I was at high school, I didn't really click about the nature of the relationships. So back in Spain, always back at MySpace was nicknames for these two teachers. And it was much later before I realized that these peers of teachers who live together, were actually my mentors, but I was so naive. And it horses that didn't occur to me into horses and my girlfriend, whom I really wanted to marry. So I was devastated when I'm in stride, because I wanted so you managed to find you meant you did manage to finding coping was she was, she was short, and she was straight. And she, in fact, wouldn't talk to me, we went to teachers college together. And that's the reason I went to teachers college and live the farm. But she missed a guy in my, the athletic team that I was friendly with. And she never really spoke to me much after they're married him and she's still with them. So very straight. But what else I mean, that's what lesbians and small communities do fall in love with straight women, because they can't find other people like themselves, it's quite, quite difficult. So visibility is really important. And having mentors, I think, makes things enormously better for people to have to know that someone's done it before, to know that, that you come from a history that you know that you know, where you've come from, and where you might, so then you can know where you're going. Because I always think if you don't know, where your pedagogical move from how to, you know, with your pedaling to, that's what some of the feedback says that. It I wanted, one of the young woman said, I wanted to see the stories of the older women that made it possible for me to be out in gang. And in so many of them say, it's just really important that this place exists, you know, that these stories, again, in one place, that that lesbian history is valued and told, and it's just really neat to see these women upon the walls, because a lot of the women up on the walls were women, and people in these sort of 30s to 50s would have heard about growing up, you know, they're well known women, you know, founders of organizations like the country, Women's Institute, you know, various sort of everything. So, yes, and so, that's really important to know that these women were like me, you know. And knowing that they managed to avoid most of them married, avoided getting married, some of them didn't, but, and they managed to lead the lives that the Theologian Rita snowed and looked quite open, he died about 1947. There's a picture of her with a partner, Renee, and they lived quite openly together. They belong to different churches on Sunday, then we adopted the separate churches, so they didn't quite clone as much as lesbians today matter. Do you think visibility is still an issue today? In some areas, it is. There are still plenty of areas where people choose to be more closet. People in the media one because they get such a hard time, sports peoples and other we've just been doing research on sport. And it's amazing the number of people who find it really difficult to to really tell us how it was as a lesbian. And in a sporting the sporting field, there were no because they don't want to be out of even though they're no longer participating in that sport. It's so there's still there's still the stigma. And I think a lot of internalized homophobia, but among older people, that still exists. For years, you thought you were no, Gordon, terrible, it's pretty hard to overcome that. You've been thinking that every day be alive for 40 or 50 years to suddenly turn around and think, oh, everything's hunky dory. Now I can skip around. And Mike's that is his CEO. It's not so easy. So the Charlotte museum does some research. I mean, it has a lot of outfits and pictures and books and magazines, and does research as they have a mental thing as well, or what some other stuff that, you know, we try and fundraise and get and pay people to do some research that we've done some research on early lesbian theater, early lesbian music, and that's going to be put together into a film and also a little book. The theater one is up on that board, the and we've got a book about that. We're currently working on early lesbian sport, early women's networks and groups of lesbians and Auckland area, and an early tech attack week. And so, you know, we're going as fast as we can with the, with the resources we have, but we never get very much money to do these things. The other thing we're doing is organizing things. And we've we've done a range of events since the beginning of this year. And the first one was an ANZAC Day event. And in this time, instead of inviting these beans from and services, we invited some of these beings who've been in peace groups, they were their premier zones, and they walked around the East Cape for sort of two, three months in the middle of summer 1983. And they were little sort of discombobulated to find themselves. Now the subject of a museum because they're only in the 40s No, but they released me in some feminists, and they did this amazing action, you know, and it was a piece action and there's so many lesbians involved in peace and activities over the last 3050 years that I think we'll have lots of insect type beats like that. Another event we had was and the centenary of that 29 who was an Apollo songwriter, extraordinary woman of have huge manner acknowledged right across modicum, who only had relationships with women and and was fine like a bunch of children in whenever an article I get up and saying it's practically you know, they practically always sing one of 20 songs. And we have some few fans here, who spoke about it. And it was a really nice event, we had, you know, a bunch of money and Palestinians came to, to that one. And, and we also had the two intergenerational events, and one was organized for youth week. And we got a lot of really positive feedback about this, the first one was completely inclusive of all to be TT people. And the young gaming, particularly were young queer guys were really interested in the seeds of anticipation, we net have been static was just a interval, you know, and there was this really expectant silence, you know, it was, it was just wonderful. And were there were 60, more than 60 young people or people there and 40 of them were, you know, probably under 25. And it was just a really positive event, then we had the follow up event, and with women, and that sort of showed quite a few differences in the community, but I hope people felt it was a good feed, it was very, what's the word, and there was a huge enthusiasm for that dialogue. And it's not something that we would necessarily be able to do on a regular regular thing that we wanted to kick it off. You know, and, and the role of the Charlotte museum and holding that kind of community event, I think, is quite important, because there's no sort of women's venue that focuses on queer lesbian issues, you know, in Auckland in so the Charlotte museum has become as sort of de facto, and clearly as being one, the center, really, and so for example, a couple of years ago, when my dad and he died, and they were women who weren't able to get to her house, or to hit me, which was down the line. And so, you know, we organized a sort of just a memorial event, you know, I mean, it was just an opportunity for those women contacted, and Miriam and I, in various hits that we were wearing at the time, saying, Oh, this is terrible, you know, I, I just really have missed having an opportunity to talk about it. And so that was open, that was a, you know, like, all our events are open to the public, we had, you know, mean women, trans men, trans women, you know, it was a really lovely event. And some of your fan I came, you know, which was just, I thought was enormously generous of them in the grief, you know, to do that, a week after she died. And, and, but they actually found it a very positive event, there was just this huge. You know, community grief about her early, it's such an early death of such a wonderful woman. And, and it was a really positive event talking about the meaning she had head for all of the people there, and it will always wonderful stories. So that was a really neat event. And for example, the time I can make code I can use it, it is holding its 20th anniversary, and here and this coming Saturday. And so there's a bunch of events like that we've just had F is local history of it. And what we did was talk about Miriam talked about why she set up the museum and what was involved in the 52 policy statements and the standards and the way in which you have to conceive things and the labeling and that the databases, it's the policy folder, and it's a very large part. And, and I talked about this sort of a really brief overview, you have a history of women loving women, for the last 200 years, and the way in which money and sort of acceptance of love between women was completely disrupted by colonization and missionaries and church, church denominations and the way in which power here attitudes changed markedly in the 1880s, from an acceptance of passionate friendships and in women, you know, having those kind of intense relationship, public relationships to, you know, treating lesbian as a more love between women is something that was second to be hidden, you know, and that was quite positively received by by the sort of dozen people from different local history societies who came and so we're hoping to have sort of, you know, local history events every six months, and will will bring up the results of our research in sort of, in a city in a waste areas that we've been funded to them. And at the next event, and the next, the one we're having in October is a DVD night with the BBC movie, The Secret diaries of a Lister. And which is about a woman in the late 1700s, early 1800s, who was had almost a contemporary sense of lesbian identity, she never called it finished and have it weird that she said, you know, her attractions were to the physics and and only the physics, and she had to long term relationships and lots of other sexual relationships woman and she wrote it all down in code in a diary, and 4 million words of it, which has only recently been decoded and published. Inside the BBC did this one half a movie about it, which will never get on the TV screens here. And we're going to show it on October the 17th. And one of the kind of demographic of people who who visit the sharp museums is it mostly is it mostly lesbians, it's mostly women. It's mostly young people, lots of researchers, lots of old lesbians, mostly lesbian, not many researchers at all. It's always disappointing that someone you know, there aren't more lesbians out there doing PhDs on the weekend, give them lots of topics. The sports one would be a good topic. And so and then there's the other group, that's just a variety of a variety of mixed people like men and women, some straight people come because their daughter or sister or somebody, please be in and they want to come and tell them about it. Sometimes they bring a relative with them. lyst being brought her daughter and grandchildren once from Adam, and great often. So you know, it's about an hour away. So time, London idea for a whole variety of people. But that's the, that's probably the maybe that came to 15%, the bulk of people come to events. And like Wednesdays, during the week, which we get the visitor, but myself, but some days, during the winter, we don't get so many visitors, the most time we get most visitors are probably between February and about June, then it sort of fades off with the weather. I'm quite interested in I think we talked a little bit before when you had these intergenerational vents or youth week or something, and you're saying that the anticipation of the excitement of the young people? Is that what do you think that is? I think there's a big stereotype with, you know, archiving and libraries and museums, it's boring and stuffy, you know, like, what do you think that anticipation was about? It was about dialogue with people who've gone before, and I think there's a big hunger for among young people, these are often get those opportunities. And one of the things that came up was that in the really early days in the 50s, and 60s, when there was just the beginnings of a community, and everybody used to socialize together. And some of the lesbians and are coming out stories on DVD say that they were part of it. And so it used to be the gaming that lesbians that trained transgender people, the prostitutes that everybody you know, was, was in the same pub, you know, drinking together. And, and what used to happen was that, that especially the gay guys talked about this at the, at the, in the food, the youth week of the end, was that there was actually a sort of informal that very sort of organized I guess, transfer of knowledge and, and understanding about what it means to be queer to be safe from the older guys to the younger guys. And women I think, didn't do it quite the same way. But that kind of informal passing down the knowledge and in the sort of socializing together has, has stopped now because this, the community is so big, that, you know, gender queer can socialize with gender queer and, and, you know, lesbians with these beings and never see gay guys, you know, in gay guys don't ever see lesbian. So, it's so big now that we're all in our little sort of identity groups, and we don't socialize together. And so especially with young people, and older people, you know, the older people are hitting the the young barriers, you know, and would feel dreadfully out of place if they did, and so the young people don't actually meet, you know, any older lesbians or older gaming or or older, trans people, I think the community is still small enough that they do, but that's how it is now. And so those kind of informal ways of, of picking up How to Survive survival knowledge and, and an awareness that there are others like self, and what they've gone through, and there isn't that kind of structure for it anymore. So it needs to be organized. And so that's what the hunger for was. And so I'm sort of still thinking about it about what role the shadow museum can play, we sort of the trusted talk about this, it's not sort of a core function, you know, and we've just got all our work cut out for ourselves and doing the research consuming. The the staff, getting all the new stuff that people dumped on a doorsteps and say it gives us boxes of you know, and in in cataloging it and sorting as let's we, you know, we really still behind them cataloguing So, you know, the community organizing is the sort of second string that is a delegate. Yeah, well, we can delegate that's why we employed Jenny Chico because I just got exhausted sounds like this year it's a real hub. And it sounds like it's been really successful and achieving things that even winter is that raising the money is always been you know, the hard slog range last time killed us it was 2000 a month. And so this is hard this is hard sighs and tough the rain so we'll be taught in November, October November it's always a difficult time for most groups is the funding doesn't get very little funding and coming in at that time, particularly for operating costs and and and the admin and read so how can people find you if they'd like to come and have a look at all the incredible things on the walls, or give me some money, the rings and everything that kind of thing. I can go online and see our website, they can get our address off the website and all they could read the TMR news the addresses there, they can pick up a brochure from the woman's workshop and this usually summit Ghana station, have you been used around like rainbow There's our brochures as well with the address on and they can come along on Wednesday afternoon between 12 and four or Sunday afternoon between one third and about 330 I mean we will stay a bit longer someone turns up at three o'clock is all Facebook find us on Facebook Live and we are events we're trying to advertise more widely so for example, we had an article in the central Novi having us this issue about the the local history of it and also it's on stuff and and we're going to be putting out like for example event finder some of the sort of the the Auckland unit, the Auckland City Council, events, websites, you know, we put air events on it. So we're going to be we're gradually getting our marketing spreading it around into more more avenues. So we're hoping to become more visible as we go on. And But mostly, and if you want to see us and participate Wednesdays and Sundays in downtown but suburban Mandela is where it is. Anybody can be afraid of the museum. You don't have to be a lesbian to be afraid of the museum and we have a number of friends who are not disappear. So I guess that's one thing I'd like to say it and unless people support us financially, it will be too hard to sustain. We have to be sustainable.

This page features computer generated text of the source audio - it is not a transcript. The Artificial Intelligence Text is provided to help users when searching for keywords or phrases. The text has not been manually checked for accuracy against the original audio and will contain many errors.