Week 1 | Begin Here

nikki fragala barnes
3 min readMay 21, 2021

[Also in this series, a summer internship with the LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida: Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6.]


This summer I will be working as a graduate student intern with the LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida. To begin, I am completing my first year toward my PhD in Texts and Technology with the University of Central Florida. My concentrations are Public History and Editing, Publishing, and Interdisciplinary Curating (EPIC). I arrived at this program with my MFA in Creative Writing / Poetry in the Expanded Field and significant experience as a curator and editor. I am also a community activist and an installation artist exhibiting site-sensitive, participatory works.

My research is at the intersection of spatial humanities and public histories, specifically marginalized groups who have been underrepresented within place-based dominant narratives. My work emphasizes critical making, public scholarship, and creative research methods. I am especially excited to work with digital tools and emerging media methods as I am immersed in the world of digitized archives, online exhibitions, and progressive museum practices. I intend to use this experience (and the degree) to work within the curatorial, education, or engagement department of an arts and cultural organization, such as a museum or gallery, affiliated with a university.

The origins of the LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida began in 2005 and were formalized in 2010. Its mission is to “collect, preserve and exhibit the history of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community in Central Florida.” The vision for the Museum is “essentially educational in nature, the Museum seeks to illuminate the struggles, triumphs and experiences of the Central Florida LGBTQ population.” The collections are organized into five areas: digital collections, oral histories, personal collections, publication archive, and photo archive. Consisting of tens of thousands of files, objects, and narratives, the materials are extensive and diverse.

I will be surveying the Museum’s digital collections and selecting 10–15 artifacts for a spotlight series of videos where I will share a profile and contextualization for each object / person / place. This curated, micro-collection will serve as multiple pathways of engagement for users and researchers of the archives. Additionally, this series will be posted and shared via social media to engage a community of supporters of the Museum, the LGBTQ community, and public history scholarship.

Initially, I will be working with entries on MCC Joy Church, the Parliament House, and Bruce Grounds of Out & About Books. Additional selections will be posted on this blog.

I am thrilled to be working with an exceptional team. My work will be supervised by Dr. Scot French, Dr. Martha Brenckle, both of UCF, and David Matteson, Board President of the LGBTQ History Museum and Associate Curator of Education and Outreach at the Orlando Museum of Art.

I / we will also be assembling a conference proposal to share the process and products of this internship experience. Currently, I am reviewing the calls for Invisible Histories and the NCPH, as well as their handbook project for the inclusivehistorian.com.

I will also be responding to a selection of readings on digital collections and curating LGBTQ materials, in addition to reviewing several public history projects.

Here we go!


LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida. http://www.floridalgbtqmuseum.org.



nikki fragala barnes

Nikki Fragala Barnes is a transdisciplinary scholar of the arts and humanities. Research interests include place-based public histories and archives.