The Western Australia Museum in Perth, recently acquired a Gosnell’s train station toilet door with a “glory hole” and the possible exhibit piece is causing much excitement in the land down-under.
The donated “piece” was used by gay men in the Perth for covert sex at a time when homosexuality in WA was illegal.
Western Australia Museum’s chief executive Alec Coles said it was an appropriate piece to acquire because public museums needed to represent every aspect of society.
“Clearly the gay community is a very important part of Perth’s society,” he said.
“We often talk about museums as safe places for unsafe ideas.
“The places you can explore topics that are maybe controversial, sometimes contentious, sometimes even confrontational, but the kind of places they can be explored in a responsible and measured way and hopefully without rancor.”
The door was donated by Perth man Neil Buckley who saved it from destruction when the building it was in was set for redevelopment in 1998.
But not everyone is excited with the glory hole being on public display.
Tony Krsticevic, a member of of the Western Australian Parliament, says he doesn’t think it’s a “suitable exhibit” for young people.
“While it is appropriate for the WA Museum to chronicle the rich and proud LGBTI community as a significant element in the State’s history,” he says, “such an object is too tacky for display at what will be such a great new venue.”
He adds, “I’m not sure it is a suitable exhibit to be seen by school-children who will flock to the new WA Museum when it is completed
Mr Buckley said he did not think there should be a content warning for museum patrons if the door was exhibited.
“It would depend on how it is presented, I would like to think we would always be sensitive,” he said.
“We are representing diverse views of many people and diverse views of people who may be offended … and we take that into account as well.”
Culture and Arts Minister David Templeman said it was the role of WAM to document the stories of the WA’s diverse communities and preserve them for future generations.