Out and About: RAMM’s botanical collections

Out and About student project intern Ashley Eyvanaki has been examining RAMM’s botanical collections, uncovering the queer heritage and stories behind them.

Out and About: Queering the Museum is an intergenerational project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) communities to uncover and create existing and new LGBTQ+ heritage at RAMM.

As part of the project’s move towards online content due to Covid-19, student project intern Ashley Eyvanaki has been uncovering queer heritage and stories behind objects from RAMM’s botanical collections. Examples include a reflection on a beautiful illustration of lilies by William Keble Martin, which inspired her to ponder the significance of this flower for LGBTQ+ people and bi communities in particular. Another piece focuses on ‘Sampler with Carnations’ made in the 1700s by seven year old Sarah Bechin. Through her writing Ashley explores the link between green carnations and queer desire in the 19th century, with specific reference to Oscar Wilde.

Building on this work, the Out and About project team have just recruited a number of research volunteers who will be adding to our collection of objects, as we work towards reinterpreting the collections through a queer lens. We are also asking the LGBTQ+ community to take part in the project by contributing an object from home to the Queer Collectors Case through a photograph or short video.

Find out more on the Out and About website.

View William Keble Martin’s lilies Sarah Bechin’s ‘Sampler with Carnations’ on Collections Explorer.