Queer/LGBTQ+ History podcasts

After eating my fill of audio drama podcasts while putting together my Nine Worlds rec list this summer, autumn and winter found me in more of a non-fiction mood. I picked up a handful of new (to me) queer history podcasts in the last few months (podcast backlogs having the unfortunate habit of running out, forcing the listener to find more or wait), so I thought I’d write up a list of my current favourites. You know, in case you need some help researching the queer fanfiction you’re gonna write me after last week’s post, because you love me. 😘

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Hansemuseum

It’s been a busy, um… year and a bit, and my blogging habit has fallen over a little bit, but hey guess what: I still have opinions about museums! A little while ago, I visited a really cool museum in Lübeck, the Hansemuseum.

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(Source) I neglected to take my own photos of the outside, but it’s a pretty striking building, boxy in a pretty way. A lot of stairs, though. Maybe there was another entrance I didn’t see, but it didn’t look like a very accessible place for anyone with movement difficulties.

I was predisposed to like this museum, since I’m from Hamburg, a proud Hanseatic city, and since historical economics and trade is my favourite academic interest. But even with my biases, I think this was a very well designed museum.


A video of me using my ticket to activate a display screen with the German version of its content.

First of all, it had a lot of cool digital toys. The tickets come with a RFID chip, which allows you to select a language at the beginning of the exhibition, and then change many of the screen displays to that language with a touch. Other displays simply repeated the same information in several languages, but I thought the customisable screens were a very clever idea to save space, and also engage visitors.

There were also a lot of infographics. The infographic was a major method of information delivery in most of the rooms. As a very visual person, who gets tired and distracted standing around reading large blocks of dry text on walls, I found this a very effective and pleasing way to absorb the information. Colours, images, and symbols make learning a more pleasant experience.

You might notice that all but one of the images so far have shown light text on a dark background. This is part of the last aspect of the museum that really pleased me. The exhibition was divided into two kinds of rooms. The light on a dark background rooms presented interpretation: concepts, narrative, and reproductions.

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The boat of a group of traders travelling to Novgorod. Complete with soundscape.

These rooms were interspersed with lighter rooms, characterised by dark text on light background, and displays of actual artefacts.

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A more traditional museum room.

To me, these functioned like an evidence section to the claims made in the darker rooms. Of course, by their very nature they still present interpretation, but I like the break between the two different kinds of information and presentation. Unfortunately they suffer from the problem traditional museum rooms often have, that it’s difficult to tell which order to look at things in to cross the room without missing anything. But overall it’s effective!

If you’re ever in Lübeck, I definitely recommend looking into the museum. Although if you have mobility access needs, maybe check in with them first.

Unfinished Notebooks

Well, that was a month of unplanned hiatus. I hit a bit of a block with my one post per week goal, for various reasons. Impostor syndrome insecurities about what to write, and general procrastination. But I will take as many new beginnings as I can wring out of the world, and I did see the first bumble-bee of the year today, so I’m calling that a good omen.

I've also told WordPress to nag me about posting every week.
I’ve also told WordPress to nag me about posting every week. We’ll see how that goes.

One development while I’ve been gone: I started volunteering as curator at a small local museum. Apart from the whole lack of salary aspect it’s pretty much my perfect job at this point in time.

Last week the other curator and I went into the storage room of the museum to take stock of the artefacts we can use to build our upcoming exhibits. There is all kinds of wonderful stuff down there, it is very hard not to get distracted on random tangents all the time. Even surrounded by so many things — letters, photographs, receipts, ID cards — touched and made and changed by the hands of people who lived and are most likely dead now, it’s sometimes hard to remember that those people were real. That’s why I really liked this particular one; it made me feel an instant feeling of connection to the person who used it.

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It’s a grey cash book from the early 1900s, from one of a set of boxes labelled „Henry Skilton“, which appear to contain Henry Skilton’s whole life in documents, with research notes for an article of some kind.

The inside cover has writing in it.
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Page one, too.
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But then…
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Nothin.

Apart from occasional pages in the middle of the book, the rest of it is pristine blank pages.
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There’s something intensely comforting about the fact that Henry Skilton from a century and a decade ago also had notebooks lying around that never got fully used. I have a stack of them in my desk drawer. It would be awkward to use them for anything else now, but they’re not being used for their original intended purpose either. I know nothing about this person, I can barely even read the handwriting in the book, but I felt a powerful sense of kinship flipping over those blank pages.

It’s nice to get reminders that history is real — that people are real. And aren’t people great and weird? We’re great and weird; I love us.