From queens, emperors and divine beings, to scientists, artists and global communities, Bridging Binaries explores the spectrum of identities that exist across time, place and culture in Cambridge collections.

How do labels and categories affect the stories we choose to tell, or how we connect with each other? How do they affect our interaction with the natural world, and how we imagine the future?

Since 2018, the Bridging Binaries team of volunteer guides have been sharing their personal selection of fascinating stories about gender and sexual identity through a range of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-related objects from across the University of Cambridge Museums.

The tours

The tours have been developed across a range of the collections from Zoology to Classical history; and as a result each tour is unique. What makes each tour even more unique is that they are delivered by a group of trained up volunteer tour guides who are encouraged to put their own personal spin on their tour. 

Following the closure of our museums in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in March, and the introduction of enhanced safety measures, we were unable to offer in person tours, but this enabled us to create more digital content. 

Head over to our Discover page to explore some of the stories from the tours, presented by the Bridging Binaries guides.

You can also find:

A series of audio labels created by our guides here

A series of video tour snippets here

Tour guide in the Fitzwilliam MuseumTour guide in the Polar Museum

Bridging Binaries now

In 2024 the Museum of Zoology and the Museum of Classical Archaeology are running LGBTQ+ Tours. Find out more and book your place:

There are also plans afoot at other Museums to bring back their tours soon... so watch this space!

Behind the scenes

Interested in volunteering?

Opportunities to join our friendly group of tour guide will be advertised on our Volunteer Makers page.

The Bridging Binaries guides celebrate the completion of their training on the steps of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Get a guide's eye view of the project in posts by Colin Clews and Kate O'Neill on our Collections in Action blog:

      Hadrian, Antinous and Me
      Bridging Binaries in the Animal Kingdom

In 2020, the tour guide team was awarded a Through the Door Award at the SHARE Museums East Volunteer Awards, and shortlisted for Volunteer Team of the Year at the national Museums + Heritage Awards.

About the project

Bridging Binaries was launched in 2018. The tours are based on material researched by Dan Vo and Ellie Armstrong, working closely with staff from across the University of Cambridge Museums.

Dan Vo, Charlotte Connelly and Ellie Armstrong outside the Polar Museum. Behind them is a large banner saying "Polar Museum". Dan and Ellie are holding Bridging Binaries flyers, while Charlotte holds two cuddly penguins.
Dan Vo, Polar Museum Curator Charlotte Connelly, Ellie Armstrong, and two cuddly friends


Find out more about the development of Bridging Binaries on our Collections in Action blog:

      Bridging Binaries: reflections on the pilot (March 2019)
      Bridging Binaries LGBTQ+ Tours: where are we now? (June 2020)