Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Anthropology

First Advisor

Christina Kreps

Second Advisor

Kelly Fayard

Third Advisor

Frédérique Chevillot


Anthropology, History museum, LGBTQ+, Museum, Queer, Visitor studies


Historically, the documentation of LGBTQ+ histories, struggles, and accomplishments has been absent from museum collections and exhibitions. Scholars argue that given the authoritative nature of museums and their influence on the public, exclusions of LGBTQ+ history can mount to institutional erasure of queer identities. However, in the past decade, there has been an increase in attempts to document and curate exhibitions highlighting and encouraging the public to engage with LGBTQ+ history. While this history is imperative to preserve and display, it can be met with controversy, leading some LGBTQ+ history exhibitions to be relocated or even removed. During the summer of 2022, I conducted a museum ethnography of History Colorado’s LGBTQ+ History exhibition, Rainbows & Revolutions to answer the following research questions: 1) How do state history museums incorporate and display LGBTQ+ histories in their collections and exhibits, and 2) How do the public and members of the LGBTQ+ communities react to LGBTQ+ history and representation in a public museum? I investigated these questions through participant observation, staff and object donor interviews, and post-exhibit surveys. In the thesis to follow I share my findings in order to offer detailed insight regarding the incorporation and public reception of LGBTQ+ at Colorado’s state history museum.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Madeline Ohaus


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

173 pgs


Museum studies, LGBTQ studies, History