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Orillia Museum opens first North American exhibit marking Anne Lister

A look inside the new exhibit at the Stephen Leacock Museum in Orillia (KC Colby/CTV News). A look inside the new exhibit at the Stephen Leacock Museum in Orillia (KC Colby/CTV News).

The Stephen Leacock Museum in Orillia is now showcasing one of history's most famous code-writers.

"Decoding Anne Lister: History's First Modern Lesbian" is an exhibit that examines the life of Anne Lister, a highly intelligent woman born in England during the late 1700s.

Lister, a successful businesswoman and property owner in her time, was forced to conceal her sexuality as a lesbian.

Lister documented her romantic life by developing a complex system of code that she put into more than 5 million words in her diaries.

"We're hoping that people will see that lesbian and queer people have always existed," said Jen Martynyshyn with the Stephen Leacock Museum. "It may have been a secret, but this isn't a modern, new invention that people have always been in the community, and it's always been part of history."

The exhibit will continue at the museum until the start of 2024. Top Stories


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