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What Should an L.G.B.T.Q. Museum Be? Approaches Vary.

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LONDON — “It feels like a religious object,” said Joseph Galliano-Doig, the director of Queer Britain, a new museum here, gesturing toward a heavy oak door in the main exhibition room.

Painted a sickly shade of mustard and studded with steel rivets, the door also had a tiny peephole for prison guards to look through. “This is what Oscar Wilde was martyred behind,” Galliano-Doig said, “it’s just horrendous.” From 1895 to 1897, Wilde was incarcerated for the crime of sodomy, destroying his reputation.

He died in exile and poverty three years later at the age of 46. The object loomed over Queer Britain’s inaugural exhibition, a stark reminder of the danger and taboo being gay represented a century ago.

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