Award-Winning Book

Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites

Cover of the book

Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites is a handbook for historical organizations interested in sharing stories about same-sex love and desire, as well as well as the full spectrum of gender expression.

Part of the American Association for State and Local History’s Interpreting History series, this book discusses reasons for organizations to explore this this underrepresented part of the past; offers best practices; provides an overview of LGBTQ history in the United States; and includes three case studies from organizations engaging various approaches to share the LGBTQ past with visitors.


Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites is available directly from the publisher (Rowman & Littlefield) as well as online booksellers. Follow the buttons on the right to link directly with the seller of your choice.

AASLH Members are eligible for a 20% discount when purchasing from the publisher!

Winner of NCPH Book Award

In 2016 the National Council on Public History honored Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites with its annual award “for the best public book in public history.”

Table of Contents


Chapter 1:       Introduction

Chapter 2:       A Pep Talk for the Faint of Heart



Chapter 3:       Approaching LGBT History

Chapter 4:       “The Abominable Sin”: European Contact to the Late-Nineteenth Century

Chapter 5:       Creating Communities: Late-Nineteenth Century to the Mid-1960s

Chapter 6:       We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used to It:  

Mid-1960s to United States v. Windsor (2013)

Chapter 7:       History Coda: What A Strange Year It’s Been



Chapter 8:       Trends in LGBT Historical Interpretation

Chapter 9:       Case Study—Displaying Queer History at the Chicago History Museum:

Lessons from the Curators of Out in Chicago

Jill Austin and Jennifer Brier

Chapter 10:     Case Study—The Varied Telling of Queer History at Historic New England Sites

                        Kenneth C. Turino

Chapter 11:     Case Study—Interpreting for the Next Generation:

The Summer History Immersion Program (Minnesota)

Kyle Parsons and Stewart Van Cleve

Chapter 12:     Issues to Consider When Interpreting LGBT History

Chapter 13:     Conclusion: Some Suggestions



Appendix 1:    Timeline of Key Events in LGBT United States History

Appendix 2:    Recommended Reading

Appendix 3:    Bibliography

Appendix 4:    About the Authors