The Molly Spoon Archive
A Share Academy project

This project was a collaboration between Bruce Castle Museum in Haringey and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL. They worked together to introduce museum visitors to the concept of a Molly Spoon, a wooden doll used in ceremonies at the Molly Houses of Renaissance London as a symbol of ‘coming out’ as a new character. Visitors were encouraged to make their own Molly Spoons in an exploration of what it means to create a sense of identity through rituals. The stories around the spoons were archived using Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, linking the 19th century with 21st century technology.

The spoons were then shown in a free temporary exhibition at Bruce Castle Museum cultivating new collections around personal and LGBTQ cultural history for the Museum and building on Haringey’s LGBTQ campaigning history.

Image of Bruce Castle: courtesy of Robert Waite

May 28th saw the launch of the Mollie Spoon Archive at Bruce Castle Museum. The launch event was attended by Ms Timberlina, Dr. Gareth Hagger-Johnson (Department of Epidemiology and Public Health), and local hip-hop pensioner Ida Barr. 

Gareth said "Museums are a neglected form of public engagement. Like the African comb exhibition before it, the Molly Spoon Archive encourages dialogue about why minority groups are not well represented in London's mainstream museums. Social hierarchies of the past may explain the health inequalities of today".

In the News

Check out a guest blog post on Broke in London

Project Leads

  • Gareth Hagger-Johnson, Research Associate, Institute of Child Health & Senior Research Associate, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCL
  • Deborah Hedgecock, Curator, Bruce Castle Museum
  • Tim Redfern, Freelancer
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